Awards $5.5 Million for Development of Plug-in Electric Vehicles, the philanthropic arm of the Internet search giant, has announced the first grants made through its RechargeIT initiative, which is designed to accelerate the adoption of plug-in electric vehicles.

Grants of $2.75 million each were awarded to ActaCell and Aptera Motors. ActaCell will use the grant to help commercialize lithium-ion battery technology developed at the University of Texas that has the potential to improve battery cycle life and lower costs while maintaining a focus on battery safety, all of which are important factors in the widespread adoption of plug-in vehicles.

Aptera Motors will use its grant to continue its work on an ultra-high-efficiency vehicle that incorporates state-of-the-art composite materials and improved aerodynamics. During tests, Aptera's first prototype achieved more than 230 miles per gallon, and the company plans to develop an all-electric as well as a plug-in hybrid vehicle based on the design.