Google’s electric car

Fascinating story in The New York Times about Google’s support of electric cars. Google’s philanthropic arm, Google.org, will be giving $10 million to support better battery technologies, plug-in hybrids and technologies that allow the cars to sell power back to the power company.

The plug in hybrids can reach up to 75 miles per gallon.

The story quotes Stanford professor Stephen Schneider, who was a co-author of a recent U.N. report on climate change (pdf link):

“These guys have clout with hundreds of millions of young and middle-aged people,” he said, adding that what was necessary to jump-start a new type of car was a combination of reliability, affordability and “cool.”

Not only does Google influence consumers, it influences utilities. Google’s announcement was made in conjunction with PG&E, the electric company in the area.

Google provides its employees a $5,000 incentive to purchase high-efficiency hybrid cars. Google also runs biodiesel shuttles that transports 1,200 employees from around the Bay Area to work.

I recently watched Who Killed the Electric Car?, a documentary on how the car companies and politicians conspired to kill California’s zero-emission mandate. I highly recommend seeing it.

The video below explains more about Google’s electric car efforts, dubbed RechargeIt.org. More details in the Google.org hybrid FAQ.

Update: See the Google blog for more on Google’s environmental efforts, including plans to be carbon neutral by the end of this year.

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About Rakesh Agrawal

Rakesh Agrawal is CEO of redesign | mobile. Previously, he launched local and mobile products for Microsoft and AOL. His personal blog is at http://blog.agrawals.org and tweets at @rakeshlobster.
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7 Responses to Google’s electric car

  1. Rocky,
    I have found an interesting anamoly in that you share the exact same name with a Purdue research scientist, Rakesh Agrawal. Are you also involved in Synthetic Biofuel production research at Purdue? If not, then, check it out (H2CAR process) cool, huh! Also, I find Google’s energy efforts very exciting.
    I noticed you were working on the “Next thing.” Always, the road, never the rear-wiew mirror! I see the Wireless efforts of Google as just being the tip of the iceberg, as I’m sure you do as well. Question: Could 802.16g Wimax multi-point antennaes be deployed city-by-city allowing for a Nationwide network, and would local governments be willing to pay for the infrastructure if electronic townhall homepages were created, and in return Google handle the advertising revenues, maintenance, and consumer reciever sales; Could this be feasible??? I’d be willing to travel the country selling it city by city.
    Mr. Agrawal, in all seriousness, I’d love to assist in your efforts in any way I can. So, feel free to contact me if you need a true “Road Warrior.”
    Thanks,
    Casey O. Cofer

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  7. Donna Lewis says:

    Everybody is asking: ” Why are there no affordable, long-range electric vehicles? Are certain organizations and industry groups rigging the system to favor their old-fashioned competing products ?”

    “The public has spoken with a deafening statement. Almost nobody has purchased the recent batch of “new” electric cars. The customer rejection rate is one of the highest for any automotive
    product in the history of the industry. Why? Because the public is not being given what they are asking for! Many of these groups knew that their over-priced, low-range, non-innovative vehicles
    would never sell but they wanted the tax breaks and good PR they would get from announcing their efforts. No car company that has hundreds of millions of dollars to spend building an
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    grabbing government money, big tax write-offs and big ‘feel-good’ PR”

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