Google creating software to make plug-in hybrids more efficient
The Internet giant is expanding its operations to work on software that will help better manage peak usage of electric cars.
Wed, Sep 30, 2009 at 05:06 PM
Photo: Paul Sakuma/Associated Press
In its continual climb to take over what seems to be just about every industry, Google announced today that the company is writing software that will help fully integrate hybrid electric cars into the power grid. The new software will help utility companies better manage the load of this burgeoning auto technology, particularly during peak hours.
"We are doing some preliminary work," Dan Reicher, Google's director of Climate Change and Energy Initiatives, told a Reuters reporter in an interview. "We have begun some work on smart charging of electric vehicles and how you would integrate large number of electric vehicles into the grid successfully … We have done a little bit of work on the software side looking at how you would write a computer code to manage this sort of charging infrastructure," he said in an interview on the sidelines of an industry conference.
Apart from plug-in technology, Google has been working on several green initiatives like developing custom solar panels that would reduce costs by up to 60 percent. The company is also looking at gas turbines that would run on solar power rather than natural gas, not to mention all the environmental work they're doing with Google Earth -- like helping conservation in Baja and adding a climate layer this week.
"One of the great things about plug-ins is this great opportunity for the first time to finally have a storage technology," he saidReicher said the company is trying to figure out how to manage the impact of having millions of future electric vehicle owners plugging in their vehicles at the same time."We got to be careful how we manage these things," he said. "On a hot day in July when 5 million Californians come home, you don't want them all plugging in at the same moment."Reicher laid out a scenario where power utilities, during a time of high demand, could turn on or off the charging of electric vehicles. The owner of these vehicles, who have agreed to such an arrangement, would get a credit from the utility in turn."The grid operators may well be indifferent to either putting 500 megawatts of new generation on or taking 500 megawatts off," he said. "The beauty of plug-in vehicles is that with the right software behind them, you could manage their charging."
More on MNN:
- Google Earth launches climate layer.
- Google Earth stops mountaintop removal in Appalachia.
- Read our transportation blog.
- Visit our car channel.
Ever wonder how hybrid cars are made? We took to the streets to find out: