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Google will give $1m to help boost hybrid cars

LOS ANGELES -- Google Inc., the world's biggest Internet search engine, plans to fund development of technology for hybrid and electric cars. It also switched on a solar-panel installation at its headquarters.

The company's philanthropic arm, Google.org, will give $1 million in grants to encourage the adoption of hybrid cars, according to a statement released yesterday. The company also disclosed a $10 million request for proposals that would help commercialize plug-in hybrids and fully electric cars.

Google, whose motto is "Don't be evil," wants to reduce greenhouse gases and the United States' dependence on oil, according to the statement.

Rival Yahoo Inc. last month said it would donate 10 hybrid taxicabs to New York City and started a contest to promote environmentally friendly actions, such as installing energy-efficient lightbulbs and taking public transit.

The solar installation at Google's Mountain View, Calif., headquarters was unveiled last year. It will generate 1.6 megawatts, enough electricity to power 1,000 average California homes, the company said.

Plug-in hybrids, which have batteries that can be recharged when the car's not in use, get about 74 miles per gallon in tests, Google said. That compares to a 41-mile average for regular hybrid cars. Toyota Motor Corp.'s Prius is the best-selling hybrid.

Shares of Google rose $9.31, or 1.8 percent, to $515.20. They have climbed 12 percent this year.

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