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Google Using Chevy Spark EVs For Ride-Sharing Pilot Program

Google and General Motors will soon be teaming up for a ride-sharing pilot program which will utilize Chevrolet Spark EVs, according to recent reports.

The program will be based around Google’s Mountain View, California, campus, and is — at least partly — intended to help General Motors (GM) develop strategies for the deployment of other ride-sharing programs elsewhere.

Chevy Spark EV. Image Credit: Chevrolet

Chevy Spark EV. Image Credit: Chevrolet

According to GM, such programs could be used to reduce traffic congestion in large cities during peak travel times, while also exposing more people to the company’s electric offerings.

Reportedly, the company is also utilizing its Warren Tech Center in Michigan to research parking garage dynamics — being aided in said pursuit by the parking-technology company Streetline Inc.

Green Car Reports provides more information on that:

Sensors installed in a heavily-trafficked parking deck will be used to measure demand and turnover patterns, while employees will use an app to locate free spaces. GM claims 70% of drivers have trouble finding a parking space once or more per day, and they waste fuel in the process. Both programs were revealed in the 104-page sustainability report, which discusses GM’s progress in meeting various environmental goals.

In the report — the fourth since January 2012 — GM reaffirmed its commitment to putting 500,000 electrified vehicles on US roads by 2017. The company said it put 153,034 of these vehicles — including electric cars, plug-in hybrids, and conventional hybrids — on the road in 2013, up from 39,843 in 2011.

As well as the EVs and PHEVs, General Motors is currently aiming for at least eight of the gas-powered vehicles in its lineup to get at least 40 mpg by 2017. 40 mpg isn’t exactly a substitute for an EV (with regard to carbon emission AND to fuel costs), but it’s better than nothing I suppose.

In related news — GM recently revealed that it’s aiming for a new version of the ELR to directly compete with the Tesla Model S. To accomplish said goal, the ELR will get beefed up a fair deal across a number of different parameters — bigger brake calipers and rotors; more power; and five-spoke wheels and a hidden (likely sportier) grille.

Improvements, sure, I suppose — but will that really be enough to make someone choose the ELR over the Model S? I find that hard to believe.

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Written By

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.


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