Google philanthropy funds Aptera and ActaCell

Google.org is splitting $2.75 million between Aptera, a maker of electric cars, and ActaCell, which is developing long-lasting lithium-ion batteries.

Aptera's two-seater Type-1 is classified as a motorcycle on the road. Aptera

Google.org is investing $2.75 million into electric-vehicle maker Aptera and battery start-up ActaCell. The announcement, which follows Google's request for proposals from companies with electric car technologies, came Tuesday during the Plug-In 2008 conference in San Jose, Calif.

Aptera of Carlsbad, Calif., makes street-legal three-wheelers with a unique, aerodynamic design. The company aims to sell its Typ-1 model for less than $30,000 by the end of year. It's marketing a pure electric as well as a gas electric plug-in hybrid achieving more than 200 miles per gallon. The vehicles are supposed to accelerate to 60 miles per hour within 10 seconds, drive 120 miles on a full charge, and recharge from a 110-volt outlet.

ActaCell of Austin, Tex., aims to develop long-lasting lithium-ion batteries. On Wednesday it announced $5.8 million in series A financing led by Draper Fisher Jurvetson and including Google.org, Applied Ventures, and Good Energies. The company has not yet publicly disclosed details about its technology.

To help speed up the adoption of plug-in hybrid electric cars, the search giant's philanthropy launched the RechargeIt initiative in June 2007.

Google's Mountain View, Calif., campus offers plug-in hybrid Toyota Priuses for employees making short, work-related trips. The hybrids achieve 90 miles per gallon and were converted with kits from A123 Systems' Hymotion .

 

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