Thursday, September 14, 2006

Google Ogles Plug Ins


Here is a big development for PHEVs.

Philanthropy Google’s Way: Not the Usual

By KATIE HAFNER
New York Times
Published: September 14, 2006

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 13 — The ambitious founders of Google, the popular search engine company, have set up a philanthropy, giving it seed money of about $1 billion and a mandate to tackle poverty, disease and global warming.

But unlike most charities, this one will be for-profit, allowing it to fund start-up companies, form partnerships with venture capitalists and even lobby Congress. It will also pay taxes. One of its maiden projects reflects the philanthropy’s nontraditional approach.

According to people briefed on the program, the organization, called Google.org, plans to develop an ultra-fuel-efficient plug-in hybrid car engine that runs on ethanol, electricity and gasoline.

The philanthropy is consulting with hybrid-engine scientists and automakers, and has arranged for the purchase of a small fleet of cars with plans to convert the engines so that their gas mileage exceeds 100 miles per gallon.

The goal of the project is to reduce dependence on oil while alleviating the effects of global warming.

Google.org is drawing skeptics for both its structure and its ambitions.

(snip)

Google’s founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, believe for-profit status will greatly increase their philanthropy’s range and flexibility. It could, for example, form a company to sell the converted cars, finance that company in partnership with venture capitalists, and even hire a lobbyist to pressure Congress to pass legislation granting a tax credit to consumers who buy the cars.

The executive director whom Mr. Page and Mr. Brin have hired, Dr. Larry Brilliant, is every bit as iconoclastic as Google’s philanthropic arm.

(snip)

While declining to comment on the car project specifically, Dr. Brilliant said he would hope to see such ventures make a profit. “But if they didn’t, we wouldn’t care,” he said. “We’re not doing it for the profit. And if we didn’t get our capital back, so what?

The emphasis is on social returns, not economic returns.” (more)

And the momentum continues.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Felix Kramer said...

At CalCars News we've posted Google.org's official statement in response to The NY Times story and a link to the full text of the story, as well as our statement and some further comments.

-- Felix Kramer, Founder, CalCars.org

3:23 PM  
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