Google Gaga Over Plug-in Hybrids

Plug-in Hybrid Prius" will be proliferating on Google Inc. lots.© Davide Andrea

Google Inc., the California-based Internet monolith, announced last week that it is pledging a cool $10 million of its profits to help spur the development of plug-in hybrid cars. The company showed off its own new fleet of hybrid Ford Escape SUVs and Toyota Prius cars modified to plug-in. And with Google’s headquarters powered by the sun, the company’s electric outlets are clean and green, making plugging in that much more eco-friendly.

Plug-in hybrids have bigger batteries than regular gasoline-electric hybrids, and as such can go farther using the battery-powered electric motor before they need to switch on the gasoline engine to take up the slack. These cars can also be plugged in to any electrical outlet to further juice up the batteries and reduce the need to activate the polluting internal combustion engine.

To kick off the initiative, Google announced six initial grants ranging from $100,000 to $200,000 and totaling $1.05 million in all. The funding will go toward advocacy for plug-ins, research on so-called vehicle-to-grid technology (whereby plug-in hybrids could essentially sell excess power back into the power grid), promoting federal policy friendly to plug-ins, educating consumers about the benefits of the technology, and promoting the research, design and development of more commercially-available plug-in models.

Source: USA Today/Techinovations