Google.org to Eco-Car Startups: Come Get the Money

googleplugincar11.jpgLast June, Google (GOOG) co-founders Larry Page and Sergei Brin drove a plug-in vehicle around the company’s campus and pledged $10 million in funding for plug-in electric vehicle startups. Today, Google.org said it is accepting proposals, so all you eco-car startups out there, check out the guidelines – submissions are due no later than Oct. 22.

The search engine giant says it plans to invest from $500,000 to $2 million in for-profit companies focused on plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, electric vehicles and vehicle-to-grid solutions; one example would be an early-stage technology venture looking to develop and sell a new product such as a new type of battery. Google admits that $10 million “is a fraction of the total investment needed to transform our transportation sector,” but hopes the RFP will spark more investment in the industry.
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In addition to pledging the $10 million, Google.org has also issued $1 million in grants to non-profit organizations. At the media event held to launch its RechargeIT project back in June, I chatted briefly with Larry Brilliant, executive director of Google.org, who said the division is focusing about a third of its attention and investments on climate change projects.

There have been a surprising number of independent plug-in hybrid electric vehicle startups emerging recently. Tesla Motors is getting its Roadster ready. Fisker Automotive is aiming at the luxury sedan market. Malcolm Bricklin’s Visionary Vehicles wants to win the Automotive X-Prize with its $35,000 hybrid. And Venture Vehicles just raised funding for its three-wheeled VentureOne.

Also check out our photos of the eco cars at the GoingGreen convention this week.

And here’s the YouTube video on Google’s eco-car startup project:


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