Google has made big bets on the future of electric vehicles, with plans to make them available on cars that are less than two years old.
In a speech in London this week, the company revealed a fleet of self-driving cars capable of driving themselves on the road in just a few years.
It’s a bold move for a company that has yet to make a significant contribution to the automotive industry.
In the past, it’s been more likely to focus on its cloud-based services, like its cloud platform, Android, and its cloud services for Google Docs and Gmail, or its online service, Google Drive.
In the US, Google has already been working on a fleet-wide program that would make electric vehicles an increasingly viable option.
“Today, electric vehicles are the only way we can deliver quality, low-emissions vehicles on the roads,” wrote Jeff Holden, vice president of Google’s electric vehicle division, in a blog post.
“They’re the only option that’s built to last, and they’re the future.”
Holden also said that the company’s cloud-powered fleet of vehicles, which Google describes as “highly efficient, fully autonomous vehicles”, will have a range of about 300 miles, which is still very much in the prototype phase.
In the first two years, Google will deliver vehicles on a rolling basis, with each vehicle able to drive itself up to 100 miles.
Holden said that each vehicle will be able to be operated at up to 90% efficiency.
In order to reach this level of efficiency, the vehicles will need to be capable of “more than one mile of range per charge,” according to Holden.
The goal is to achieve this with the fleet of 20 vehicles, though the exact number of vehicles will be dependent on the size of the market.
The vehicles will also need to have a “low-emission rating” of between 0 and 100 kilowatts per kilowatt hour.
While the vehicles are able to get around the same as conventional gasoline vehicles, they will also be able do so much more.
“The vehicle’s range will be extended beyond 300 miles to as much as 1,000 miles,” Holden wrote.
“With the range being extended to 1,400 miles, you will be capable in the near future of cruising through the city and the countryside on a normal road trip.”
At the same time, Holden said the vehicles can also be used as an emergency vehicle for people in trouble.
The vehicles will have “a range of 1,100 miles and can be operated from home or in a hotel,” Holden said.
Holden’s comments come on the heels of a report by Automotive News that said the first 100 vehicles Google is planning to make are expected to cost $100,000 and will have range of up to 400 miles.
The automaker also plans to sell the vehicles on private roads, though Holden said there will be a “zero emission” sticker on them.
According to Automotive, the fleet will also feature a “fully autonomous” feature.
This will allow the vehicles to take over when there’s a crash, or when an oncoming car threatens to do so.
The company is also set to release a new version of its Drive service later this year that will be available to self-drive vehicles on Android phones.
Google Drive is one of Google Doc and Gmail’s primary cloud-hosted services, and will be used to store, organize, and share documents with other users.