Last week Google announced in its blog that it was adding Chevrolet Volts and Nissan LEAFs to its Gfleet corporate plug-in car-sharing program to be used by Googlers (Google personnel).

The growing fleet of 30 plug-in vehicles is located at its Mountain View, Calif. Googleplex (corporate campus) and will be supported by what Google said it believes may be the country’s largest corporate EV charging infrastructure.

We will summarize the story here, but after that, if you want to know more, you can always look it up on Google . Or you can see where it’s all happening on Google Maps . Or you can read about it on Google’s Blogger blog .


One of the newest members of Google's Gfleet recharges at Google's Googleplex campus in Mountainview, Calif.

After all that, if interested in investing in the pervasive purveyor of many products , you can check its latest stock price, which as of this writing, Google Finance says is over $509 per share.

In any event – and our point is: it cannot hurt that the all-encompassing success story that is Google has shown itself to be a prominent early EV adapter.

Like King Midas, Google has demonstrated nearly everything it touches turns to gold, and now its favorite color is green – albeit still written in its characteristic blue, red, and yellow logo colors on its “green blog.”

While it did not specify how many Volts and LEAFs it was acquiring, Google acknowledged its newest plug-ins to be “the next generation,” and aims to offer their use as a Googler perk and install sufficient free charging for parking.

“Overall, our goal is to electrify five percent of our parking spaces – all over campus and free of charge (pun intended) to Googlers,” said Google, “Our expanded charging system has already helped several Googlers decide to buy new EVs of their own, and we hope others will, too.”


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All roads lead to Google.

Thus far, Google’s free charging includes 150 Level 1 chargers, and it just added 71 Level 2 chargers from Coulomb Technologies. Another 250 chargers are scheduled for the not-too-distant future.

These goals and more are part of Google’s Rechargit initiative begun in 2007 when the Volt was just a concept for GM.

Since there were no production plug-in cars at the time, Google went out and made some by converting Toyota Prii (not Priuses, if we are to follow Toyota’s example), to plug-ins using A123 Hymotion batteries. It also converted Ford Escape Hybrids along the way.

These vehicles, and now the new Volts and LEAFS are being made available for use around Google’s campus, as is its biodiesel shuttle bus system.

Google said it will add more plug-in cars as they become available and naturally, Google is collecting data on its fleet.

A recent seven-week driving experiment – not including the Volt or LEAF – netted as much as 93 MPG average across all trips, and 115 MPG for city trips, Google said.


Google also reckons its shuttle bus system has had the carbon-reducing effect of removing 2,000 cars from the road.

“But we’re only one company, so we hope other companies think about how they can incorporate these new technologies into their own infrastructure,” Google said, “By supporting new, green transportation technologies, we’re enabling our employees to be green and doing our part to help spur growth in the industry.”

The company has undoubtedly spent a fair amount to do what it has. But we would not be surprised if – like so many of its elegant, paradigm-shifting solutions – Google has a Midas touch for environmentalism also, and proves it can turn green into gold.

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NOTE: The answers to the GM-Volt reader Q&A invite regarding the 2012 Volt from Friday are postponed. GM was not able to provide them over the weekend. We will try to get them and post as soon as possible.

-Jeff