Valence Technology, a provider of phosphate lithium-ion battery systems, has partnered with plug-in hybrid (PHEV) conversion company EnergyCS to deliver a converted PHEV Prius to the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) for evaluation of its fuel economy and fleet adaptability.
SMUD recently completed its first 1,000 miles of testing and will continue to measure the vehicle’s performance over the next 2-3 years. Valence will present data from the SMUD project and from other early adopter fleets later this year.
SMUD’s pre-commercial plug-in hybrid demonstrator is based on a 2005 Toyota Prius that has been outfitted with a 9 kWh Valence Saphion battery pack and custom electronics designed by EnergyCS to achieve increased efficiency and expanded operation in all electric or zero emission operating modes.
Valence’s Saphion technology replaces metal-oxide in cathodes with phosphate-based material to create a safer, more chemically stable and environmentally friendly battery. Phosphates are stable in overcharge or short circuit conditions and have the ability to withstand high temperatures without decomposing. When abuse does occur, phosphates are not prone to thermal runaway and will not burn.(Earlier post.)
In June 2006, SMUD began evaluating the PHEV technology within its fleet environment to gather data that could also be compared to the performance of a stock Toyota Prius. Though SMUD plans to officially release its results later this year, they have already found some encouraging numbers. The plug-in Prius uses 0.25 of a kilowatt-hour per mile—the equivalent of $1.48 per gallon—in all-electric mode.