Friday, June 10, 2011

Leading the charge toward an electric vehicle fleet

Cross-posted on the Official Google Blog

Over the last few years, several innovative electric vehicle (EV) technologies have emerged in the marketplace and we’ve been working to update our green transportation infrastructure. As a result, we’ve now developed the largest corporate EV charging infrastructure in the country. We’re also including the next generation of plug-in vehicles in Gfleet, our car-sharing program for Googlers.

When launched the RechargeIt initiative in 2007, there were no commercially available plug-in hybrid EVs on the market. So we bought several Toyota Priuses and had them retrofitted with A123 Hymotion batteries to create our own mini-fleet of plug-in hybrids to demonstrate the technology. It was the birth of Gfleet, which has since become a valued perk and makes it easier for Googlers to use our biodiesel shuttle system to commute to work by providing green transportation options for people after they arrive at the Googleplex. The new Gfleet will include more than 30 plug-ins, starting with Chevrolet Volts and Nissan LEAFs, several of which have already arrived and are available for Googlers to use today. We’ll be adding models from other manufacturers as they become available.

To juice up our new cars and provide more charging options for Googlers, we’ve been working with Coulomb Technologies’ ChargePoint® Network to continue to expand our EV charging infrastructure. We’ve added 71 new and faster Level 2 chargers to the 150 Level 1 chargers we’ve installed over the last few years, bringing our total capacity to more than 200 chargers, with another 250 new ones on the way. The ChargePoint Network provides us the charging data necessary to track and report on the success of our green transportation initiative.

Overall, our goal is to electrify five percent of our parking spaces—all over campus and free of charge (pun intended) to Googlers. Our expanded charging system has already helped several Googlers decide to buy new EVs of their own, and we hope others will, too.

All told, Gfleet and our biodiesel shuttle system result in net annual savings of more than 5,400 tonnes of CO2. That’s like taking over 2,000 cars off the road, or avoiding 14 million vehicle miles every year! But we’re only one company, so we hope other companies think about how they can incorporate these new technologies into their own infrastructure. By supporting new, green transportation technologies, we’re enabling our employees to be green and doing our part to help spur growth in the industry.

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