It’s a good week for companies to show off their transportation investments, partnerships and green technologies. The first-ever Plug-In 2008 conference in San Jose, Calif. is getting good attendance and media coverage this week, while at the same time the British International Motor Show opened in London on Wednesday.
Google.org, the investment arm of the search giant, said Wednesday it’s putting a combined $2.75 million into car battery maker ActaCell and electric car startup Aptera Motors. The funding is the first for Google.org’s RechargeIT program, which was launched a year ago to bring plug-in electric cars to the market.
ActaCell, based in Austin, Texas, raised $5.8 million in its first round of funding. Aside from Google.org, the company’s investors include DFJ Mercury, Applied Ventures (the investment arm of chip equipment maker Applied Materials) and Good Energies.
ActaCell, based in Austin, Texas, is developing lithium-ion batteries for plug-in hybrid electric cars.
Aptera, in Carlsbad, Calif., is developing a three-wheeled electric car (see Green Light post, Electric-Vehicle Derby Still On, Sci-Fi Inspired Vehicle to Hit California Roads, Aptera Launches 3-Wheeler and Mr. Spock’s New Ride).
Here’s a look at other transportation news:
- Coulomb Technologies and V2Green are teaming up on a technology and marketing partnership to develop charging stations for plug-in hybrids. Coulomb, based in Campbell, Calif., focuses on developing charging stations and communication networks while V2Green in Seattle is developing software for managing the electricity flow between the grid and the cars.
- The U.S. Postal Service plans to test General Motor’s Chevy Equinox, powered by fuel cells, as part of a project to identify more environmentally friendly vehicles that could replace its 195,000, gasoline-based delivery trucks. A one-cent increase in a gallon of gas adds $8 million to the postal service’s annual expenses, said a postal service executive.
- Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies (NADQ: QTWW) has shipped a new generation of composite hydrogen storage devices to Suzuki Motor for the carmaker’s fuel cell vehicle program, the company said. The Irvine, Calif. company said it figured out ways to reduce material cost and improve manufacturing efficiency by producing the new polymer-lined products.
- Google this week said that the Hymotion plug-in hybrids it uses for its employee car-share program have been getting more than 90 miles per gallon. After a seven-week test, the vehicles’ fuel efficiency reached as much as 93 miles per gallon for a combination of both city and highway driving and 115 mpg for city trips (see Earth2Tech post).