Sick of waiting for the government or the Invisible Hand of Commerce, Google’s decided to throw some of its considerable financial weight into developing plug-in hybrid cars.

Test models of Google’s modified Priuses currently get almost 74 miles per gallon, up from the standard model’s 41. And Google wants more.

They’ve offered up $1 million in grants – with another $10 million not far behind – to anyone whose research helps them get the cars up to 100 miles per gallon, or works toward a viable system of Vehicle-to-Grid infrastructure.

To me, better gas mileage is great, but Vehicle-to-Grid is really the revolutionary new energy technology of the future. Granted, it would require a lot of effort on our part to restructure the power grid and the concept of power companies as we know them, but the concept of a decentralized electric economy, where you could drive a clean car around town and sell excess power back to the government from home is pretty amazing.

And why would an internet search engine get involved with something like this? CNN sums it up:

Renewable energy, unlike coal or nuclear, will likely come from thousands or tens of thousands of different locations. Analysts have long said that one of the big challenges will be managing that flow into and out of the nation’s electric grid, and that companies that manage the flow of information are well placed to handle that task.

Keep up to date on Google’s RechargeIT project here.

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