Google unveils hybrid vehicle initiative

Automotive

Not content with powering the internet revolution, technology giant Google has unveiled a hybrid vehicle initiative that could double the efficiency of vehicles and allow them to generate electricity to sell back to the grid. 

The RechargeIT initiative is an $11-million-program funded by Google.org, the search company's philanthropic arm. The company kick-started the initiative by ordering the conversion of six hybrid-powered vehicles (four Toyota Prius and two Ford Escapes) into plug-in hybrids whose batteries can be charged through a regular socket. It demonstrated the first of those vehicles in an event Monday in the parking lot of its Silicon Valley headquarters. Standard hybrids can only recharge their batteries from excess energy created by the vehicles engine or brakes, or when the vehicle is coasting. By using electricity from the grid to charge a larger array of batteriesm the plug-in Prius can go about 26 kilometers on one liter of fuel.

Google plans to expand the program to build a fleet of 100 plug- ins that can be rented by its workers and recharged via a carport covered with solar electric panels. Announcing the initiative Monday, Google also turned on its 1.6-megawatt-solar-energy system that is the biggest in the US and provides about a third of the power at its Silicon Valley headquarters. „We hope to demonstrate the potential of plug-in hybrid cars and vehicle-to-grid technologies as a way to create a more, secure and efficient green energy system,” Google.org chief Larry Brilliant said. (monstersandcritics.com)

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