Google has made its commitment to clean energy known—the company has made more than $10.5 million in goethermal energy investments and has declared that it wants to make renewable energy cheaper than coal. Now the search engine giant is expanding its ever-growing reach to include plug-in hybrid vehicles. Dan Reicher, Google's director of Climate Change and Energy Initiatives, announced today that the company is working on software to better integrate PHEVs into the power grid.
The software will reduce strain on the grid, possibly by letting cars send stored energy back to the grid—so utilities can have extra energy on-tap during times of peak usage. In such a scenario, utilities might also have the power to turn charging EVs on or off during peak times. In return, the car owner could receive a credit from the utility.
Google hasn't revealed a timeline for the software, but the company has been experimenting with PHEVs since 2007. Rest assured, however, that car companies will release competing plug-in software once more PHEVs hit the streets in the next few years. Perhaps the biggest competitor will be Ford, which embarked last month on a three-year project with the Department of Energy and the Electric Power Research Institute to test vehicle-to-grid technology.