Everywhere I park, people keep asking me about the Chevy Volt. Now, the most often asked question of “how exactly does it work?” can be answered by the car, a QR code and your smartphone.
[qi:_earth2tech] Car 2.0 — the era in which vehicles are connected to both communication networks and the power grid — is here. The evolution started years ago, led by the now mainstream practice of using GPS navigation systems in cars, and is moving to include plug-in vehicles that will charge up using the electrical grid. The Car 2.0 era will create an ecosystem in which entrepreneurs and companies can develop applications, communication networks, new types of vehicles and innovative services for truly networked vehicles. Read Earth2Tech’s Guide to Car 2.0 to learn about the key players and opportunities in this market.
On a sunny afternoon back in June of 2007, members of the media, academia and the tech industry gathered to watch Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin drive a white Prius around the parking lot of the search giant’s Mountain View, Calif., headquarters.
It wasn’t just a slow news day — the Prius had been converted into a plug-in vehicle, and Page and Brin had gotten behind the wheel in order to announce the company’s RechargeIT initiative, which included, among other things, $10 million to back plug-in vehicle technology. [digg=http://digg.com/tech_news/Google_Moves_to_Reinvent_Transportation_2]
It’s been a year since that awkward scene, and the motivation behind Google’s foray into transportation has only recently started to become clear. Google just named the first two recipients of funds from its plug-in vehicle program: lithium-ion battery maker ActaCell and electric vehicle maker Aptera Motors.
While Google commonly makes small investments in web and mobile startups and has started backing renewable energy companies as well, this was the first time it has funded companies focused on electric vehicles. With the move, Google has gone from advocating plug-in vehicle technology to investing in it, much the way a venture capitalist would.
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