Google Searches for its Zap, Invests in Plug-In Hybrids


What last week was a drag race between Tesla Motors and Lightening Car Company, is now turing into an all out speedway rally with Google getting into the show. We've been covering Google's susty movements for a while with Eric putting their efforts under the green microscope and Jason telling us about's efforts to cross-polinate ethanol with electric. Today the internet giant announced it is getting in on the development of electric vehicles. RechargeIT is Google's initiative that aims to reduce CO2 emissions, cut oil use and stabilize the electrical grid by accelerating the adoption of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and vehicle-to-grid technology. To further the development of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles - cars or trucks that have both a gasoline engine and advanced batteries that recharge by plugging into the nation's electric grid -- Google is awarding $1 million in grants and inviting applicants to bid for another $10 million in funding to develop plug-in hybrid electric vehicles capable of getting 70 to 100 miles per gallon. The project also aims to develop vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology, allowing cars to sell their stored power back to the nation's electricity grid during times of peak demand. Video of the Google initiative and more after the jump.

RechargeIT has created a test fleet of cars and data acquisition system to collect actual data on the performance of the vehicles, and will make all data available to the public. The fleet consists of conventional Prius and Ford Escape Hybrid cars as well as several Prius and Ford Escapes that have been retrofitted to become plug-in hybrid vehicles. The data acquisition system is used to collect data from both the conventional hybrids and the plug-in vehicles for comparison.

Not withstanding the hairpin curves involved in the business of getting EVs to market and into the hands of consumers, CPR on the electric car need not become a chickie run -- we're all just looking to cross the finish line.