This past June, Google.org launched RechargeIT, a philanthropic investment and research program aimed to expedite the adoption of plug-in electric vehicles. Today it was discovered that two companies have made the investment list, and are in store for some serious Google “help” ($2.75 mil) to get their products up and running sooner than later.
The Two RechargeIT investment recipients:
Aptera Motors is building ultra-high efficiency vehicles based on improved aerodynamics and composite materials. Aptera’s first prototype achieved over 230 miles per gallon during testing, and they are developing an all-electric as well as a plug-in hybrid vehicle based on this design.
ActaCell is an Austin-based company working to commercialize lithium-ion battery technology developed at the University of Texas at Austin. ActaCell’s technology offers the promise of improved battery cycle life and lower costs, while maintaining a focus on battery safety, all of which are important factors in the widespread adoption of plug-in vehicles.
Certainly, this is a big shot in the arm for Aptera Motors, who had already planned an October 2008 launch of the initial all-electric typ-1e models, with plans to dish out the hybrid version in 2010. This 300mpg Jetsons-type automobile has received much-deserved attention over the past year or so, and with the new investment (and the name behind it), I’m sure we’ll continue to see much more in the coming months.
ActaCell, out of the University of Texas at Austin and based in the same city, is developing a lithium-ion battery that it believes could change the dynamics and future of the electronic car market. Currently, lithium-ion is the preferred battery type in terms of performance and longevity, but is more costly than other competing technologies such as nickel-metal hydride.
Exciting times indeed.