Google hits the road to tackle global warming

13 Sep 2007

Not content with trying to single-handedly manage the world’s information or buying wireless spectrum to become a telecoms player, Google is now to invest US$10m to identify transport solutions that will help stop global warming.

Last June launched its RechargeIT initiative to help stop global warming by promoting the use of plug-in vehicles. Research by the Electric Power Research Institute and the Natural Resources Defence Council found that widespread use of plug-in vehicles in the US could dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Yesterday Google issued a request for proposals to the tune of US$10m in order to advance sustainable transport solutions.

“We are inviting entrepreneurs and companies to show us their best ideas on how they can contribute to this important cause,” the company said in a statement.

“We need catalytic investments to support technologies, products and services that are critical to accelerating plug-in vehicle commercialisation. That is why we have structured this RFP to offer investment dollars to for-profit companies to promote social and environmental change,” it said.

Google said that the severity of global warming requires solutions from NGOs, governments, individuals and the private sector.

“We have already given US$1 million in grants to a group of outstanding non-profit organisations and want to expand our impact by spurring innovation in the private sector. While $10m is a fraction of the total investment needed to transform our transportation sector, we hope this request for proposals will help catalyze a broader response.

“We need the automakers to bring these cars to market, but plug-in vehicles also need an entire ecosystem of companies to flourish,” Google said yesterday.

The company said it is welcoming proposals from a variety of individuals and businesses of all sizes– from cutting edge battery technologies to innovative services businesses.

By John Kennedy

Pictured are Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin behind the wheel of one of the hybrid cars they believe will help in the fight to reduce global warming.