Google employees with Plug-In Prius being recharged by the sun
The US Army Stryker combat vehicle requires lots of electrical power to run its communications and computer equipment, and long-life lithium ion batteries let it do so silently.

ReCharging It At Google

Google shows how to get better than 80 mpg on solar power.

By EV World

When EV World's publisher paid a visit to Google's Mountain View, California headquarters, he had a chance to ride in one of the information giant's converted Toyota Prius. Equipped with a larger battery, the hybrid can operate longer in electric-only mode than conventional models, effectively raising its fuel economy to 80 miles per gallon (2.94L/100km) and more.

In this low-resolution video captured with a digital camera in movie mode, long-time EV World reader and Google employee, Alec Proudfoot demonstrates how the car is recharged from the company's massive array of solar panels that form both the covering of shaded car parks on the campus and span its many office buildings on its sprawling facility just off California Highway 101.

Beside the Priuses, a number of Ford Escape Hybrids are also being converted to plug-in vehicles. Ultimately, Google's goal -- in cooperation with PG&E, among others -- is to demonstrate the advantages of vehicle-to-grid charging in which electric power is stored on the vehicle, but available for feed-back into the grid.

Proudfoot noted that the plug-in Priuses have become so popular that they are constantly in use by company employees. However, the project has uncovered a couple of problems. Employees occasionally forget to plug-in the cars and they have been known to turn off the toggle switch on the dashboard that disables the plug-in feature in an effort to "save the battery". But these are the only issues that appear to have materialized in the early stages of this revolution in transport.

Times Article Viewed: 9308
Published: 15-Sep-2007


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