Google Unveils Hybrid Car Initiative
Internet search behemoth Google unveiled a new initiative last week designed to raise awareness of plug-in hybrids and “vehicle-to-grid” technology. The currrent program involves a number of conventional hybrids (specifically 4 Toyota Priuses and 2 Ford Escapes) that have been modified by electric-car specialist Hymotion to plug-in hybrid status. Google’s stated goal is to eventually have “…over 100 plug-in hybrids in its corporate fleet as demand grows and cars become commercially available.” The Prius image and infographic above is taken from the Google.org RechargeIt site, and shows what sort of improvements the plug-in hybrids in Google’s initiative offer.
In addition to the plug-in hybrid modifications, the other significant part of the initiative is the ability of vehicles to share their excess electric charge with the electricity grid. This RechargeIt video explains the process in a bit more detail. (Don’t miss the bit towards the end with former CIA Director James Woolsey talking about a new convergence between “tree-huggers…evangelicals…mom and pop drivers and Willie Nelson.”)
While it’s doubtful that the RechargeIt initiative will impact fuel consumption on a large scale — after all, we’re talking about 6 vehicles at the outset here — it does show that interest in plug-in hybrids and alternative fuel sources is growing significantly. Perhaps initiatives like this could help push companies like General Motors into developing vehicles like the Chevy Volt? (Source: Google.org) – [Jeff James]