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San Diego Gas and Electric to Run Two Plug-In Hybrids

by Jack Rosebro

Sdgephev
One of two Toyota Prius hybrids that San Diego Gas and Electric will convert into PHEVs next week.

As part of its Clean Transportation program, San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E), a public utility that is part of Sempra Energy Services, will publicly convert two Toyota Prius hybrids into plug-in hybrids next week.

The two vehicles have been in operation at SDG&E for about six months to collect real-world performance baseline data, which will be compared to data collected in the future. Although the two hybrids initially will not have vehicle-to-grid (V2G) capability, SDG&E has expressed interest in V2G, also referred to by company representative Joel Pointon as “vehicle-to-coffeepot.”

One conversion will take place on Tuesday, with the other occurring on Wednesday. Each conversion will use a Hymotion conversion kit, and will be expected to take about two hours. 

Tuesday’s conversion will give fleet managers an opportunity to view PHEV technology up close, while Wednesday’s conversion is open to the public.

The utility company will release data from the project in 2008.

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Comments

BlackSun

I want one!

Lad

Seems to me that if more utilities in the U.S. would follow the lead and switch their business cars over to PHEVs it would make quite an impression on the public and the car manufacturers; And, help bring down the costs of conversion kits. Each conversion sells more electricity and less fossil fuel and I think the costs to the utilities are an IRS write off. Nothing like creating your own market.

ai_vin

I want one too.

odograph

I look forward to the day when plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (or pure electrics) can hit a reasonable price (and performance) point.

But ... I'm a little tired of the demonstration projects. Do they actually push the tech? Isn't it battery research and development in the labs that we need?

Or are they, like so many generations of hybrid cars, more public relations than research?

I mean, when company X proudly a pilot program ... it's almost like it distracts us from what are the best real and available solutions today. You know what those are ... real world MPGs (and prices) are available across the internet.

odograph

Oops, meant to say "like so many generations of hydrogen cars"

I suppose there were a few demonstration generations of hybrids to though ... years back.

Swen

So do I, but 8-10 grand for a conversion is a bit out
of the ballpark for me. I'm thinking Toyota is going
to let all these guys do the R&D & conversions which
will save them some money, then they''put them into
production themselves when CalCars PG&E & Hymotion
have worked out the kinks. Then we can afford them
when the big T starts mass production. I'm really
pulling for Detroit, but I'm very skeptical that they'll
ever get off the drawing board.

A $4K to $12K grant (tied to fossil fuel consumption reduction + extra cost associated with the production of PHEVs) to purchasers of vehicles capable of going 40 Km to 120 Km on electricity ONLY would do a lot to accellerate PHEVs development and promote sales.

A 10 to 15 year program could be fully financed with a progressive fossil fuel or carbon tax.

It is only fair that polluters (with their gas guzzlers and coal fired generation plants etc ) should pay for the initial transition to cleaner vehicles. A few hundred billion $$ would change hand in the first 15 years. By 2020/2025, the cost of PHEVs and BEVs would come down and the support program could be progressively phased out.

sjc

I saw where Southern California Edison teamed up with Ford to run Escape Hybrid PHEVs in southern California. It seems like the electric utilities are starting to realize the revenue possibilities from PHEV popularity.

Gerald Shields

Sooner or later, with gas prices staying above $3.00 a gallon, The Big Three is going to have to respond to this sudden wave of customers "hacking" their own vehicles.

odograph

I think the SCE/Ford thing is an example of what I was talking about.

Ford is in it for the PR (and maybe SCE too).

The plug in concept is too simple to require R&D at the car level. It's all about the batteries. And until those are effective at the right price points, these demo projects are just grandstanding.

sjc

I see it as an attempt to establish or substantiate a market. Lots of tech types just say, build a better battery and they will come. Most business type might say, show me where I can make my money back and I will think about it. If there is a ground swell of support for this and there is a lot of data showing reliability, the venture community may fund battery technology more completely. We are still mainly a venture funded country in the U.S. when it comes to technology. If they do not see a short term significant payback, they go elsewhere.

odograph

But battery research is huge right now. FireFly's news is an example of that.

Our ultimate outcome with electrics will come from work like that, not from "photo opportunities" by Ford, GM, or SCE.

sjc

Huge compared to Exxon/Mobiles market valuation of $500 billion dollars? It depends on what one calls huge I guess.

odograph

What the heck?

Suddenly you are comparing battery makers to those entire companies?

Is that what they get for putting one or two demonstration PHEVs on the street?

I guess that proves my point. With a couple cars, a $100K in investment, they convince you that they are all about PHEVs.

odograph

(either that or you lost me. the point was how much substance there is in "showcase" PHEV deals.)

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