Google working on "smart" plug-in hybrid charging

Google is in the early stages of looking at ways to write software that would fully integrate plug-in hybrid vehicles to the power grid, minimize strain on the grid and help utilities manage vehicle charging load.

"We are doing some preliminary work," said Dan Reicher, Google's director of Climate Change and Energy Initiatives. "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.



Google, known for its Internet search engine, in 2007 announced a program to test Toyota Prius and Ford Escape gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles that were converted to rechargeable plug-in hybrids that run mostly on electricity.



One of the experimental technologies that was being tested by the Web search giant allowed parked plug-ins to transfer stored energy back to the electric grid, opening a potential back-up source of power for the system in peak hours.



Google has pushed ahead in addressing climate change issues as a philanthropic effort through its Google.org arm.



Reicher said Google has been testing its fleet of plug-in hybrids "pretty intensely" for the last couple of years.



"One of the great things about plug-ins is this great opportunity for the first time to finally have a storage technology," he said



Reicher 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."



Apart from plug-in hybrids, Google also is working on other green technologies such as developing its own new mirror technology that could reduce the cost of building solar thermal plants by a quarter or more, and looking at gas turbines that would run on solar power rather than natural gas.



The often-quirky company also said in late 2007 that it would invest in companies and do research of its own to produce affordable renewable energy -- at a price less than burning coal -- within a few years, casting the move as a philanthropic effort to address climate change.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: Office Junior

    £18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Account Manager - North West

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

    Recruitment Genius: Account Manager - South West

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

    Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

    £18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

    Day In a Page

    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
    Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

    Why are we addicted to theme parks?

    Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
    Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

    Iran is opening up again to tourists

    After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
    10 best PS4 games

    10 best PS4 games

    Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
    Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

    Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

    Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
    Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

    ‘Can we really just turn away?’

    Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

    ... and not just because of Isis vandalism
    Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

    Girl on a Plane

    An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent