Google hybrid car locks into grid

Here is a reprint of a news story I ran across while surfing the net.

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[B]NOT content with seeking to control the information superhighway, Google wants to influence what kind of car you drive.[/B]
The online search company has unveiled a hyper-advanced model of a hybrid car that can be charged directly from the grid, and when its battery is not in use the stored electricity can be sold back to the utility company.
The technology will delight Hollywood’s carbon-battling, hybrid-driving activists, such as Leonardo DiCaprio.
A standard Toyota Prius gets about 45mpg, while a converted plug-in Google Prius gets more than 70mpg.
By selling electricity back to the grid the cars can ease peak electricity demand – during heatwaves, for example - which is often met by emergency power from some of the US’s dirtiest coal-burning power plants, Google says.
Even if the car results in more electricity being used during normal periods, Google says, the power from the grid will be more efficient and less damaging than the oil that would otherwise be burnt by its petrol engine.
“If you have a million of these cars, you will have more generation capacity than the grid has,” says Sergey Brin, 33, the co-founder of Google, who is worth an estimated $US17 billion ($20.2 billion).
“That’s really valuable.” The $US1 million investment in the so-called vehicle-to-grid technology was masterminded by Google’s philanthropic division,, and will ultimately include a 100-strong fleet of plug-in hybrids operated by Enterprise Rent-A-Car.
When Google’s initial fleet of hybrids is plugged in, it will be charged by Google’s new 1.6mW solar power facility - the largest such system in the US - which is part of the company’s pledge to make itself carbon-neutral by next year.
By selling their excess electricity to the grid, owners of plug-in hybrids will be able to earn up to $US3000 a year.
Such savings are likely to be offset by the higher initial retail price of hybrid cars.
At a press event on Monday, Google executives joined an official of the Pacific Gas and Electric company to demonstrate how a plug-in Toyota Prius could make Google’s electricity meter run in reverse.
“There’s an awful lot of good for the environment to be done,” climate change and energy initiatives director Dan Richer says.
[I]The Times[/I]
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Story url …,24897,21991839-15321,00.html