Google backs electric vehicles with $10M

Google announced today financial support for the adoption of hybrid vehicles that can be plugged in to an electric grid for recharging (see full announcement).

Its philanthropy arm, Google.org, oversees the program, which is called RechargeIT initiative. It has awarded $1 million in grants and is offering $10 million for ideas about how to fund development and adoption of plug-ins, fully electric cars and cars that are equipped to actually return stored energy to the electrical grid, so-called “vehicle-to-grid,” or V2G technology. See the NYT story here. The company hooked up with PG&E and provided demos of the cars.

Google.org announced grants to the following organizations:

— Brookings Institution : $200,000 to support a spring 2008 conference on federal policy to promote plug-ins;

— CalCars : $200,000 to support its work to educate the public about plug-ins;

— Electrical Power Research Institute (EPRI) : $200,000 to support its plug-in research and development program;

— Plug-In America : $100,000 to raise public awareness and advocate for plug-in transportation;

— Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) : $200,000 to enable RMI to launch the design of a practical plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, with additional support and collaboration by Alcoa, Johnson Controls, and the Turner Foundation;

— Dr. Willett Kempton, University of Delaware : $150,000 for megawatt scale vehicle-to-grid research and implementation planning.

– Plug-In Data Project: To demonstrate the potential of this new technology, Google has partnered with A123Systems/Hymotion to convert a small fleet of hybrid cars into plug-ins and published preliminary performance data at . The experimental fleet of plug-in Prius models has averaged 74mpg to date, compared with 41mpg for the test fleet of non-plug-in Prius hybrids.

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