Thursday, June 9, 2011

Leading the charge in the direction of an electric vehicle fleet

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

When launched the RechargeIt plan in 2007, there were no commercially obtainable 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 show 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 given that 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 here and are obtainable for Googlers to use today. We’ll be addition models from other manufacturers as they become available.

To juice up our new cars and give more charging options for Googlers, we’ve been working with Coulomb Technologies’ ChargePoint® Network to carry on 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 path 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 before helped several Googlers choose to buy new EVs of their own, and we hope others will, too.

All told, Gfleet and our biodiesel shuttle system result in net yearly 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 slot in these new technologies into their own infrastructure. By supporting new, green transportation technologies, we’re enabling our employees to be green and liability our part to help spur growth in the industry.

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