Third Phase of SDG&E In-Use Study Shows PHEVs Excel on Fuel Economy and GHG Emissions Reductions Compared to Gasoline ICE and Hybrid-Electric Vehicles
|One of SDG&E’s converted PHEVs. Click to enlarge.|
The third phase of a SDG&E multi-year in-use study on plug-in hybrid electric vehicles showed that plug-in hybrids offer significant improvements in gas mileage and reductions in emissions when compared with standard hybrid-electric and gasoline internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. (Earlier post.) SDG&E is a regulated public utility that services San Diego and southern Orange counties.
SDG&E tested the performance of two 2007-model Prius hybrids and then converted them into plug-in hybrids, using a Hymotion 5 kWh lithium-ion battery conversion kit. In the most recent study, the prototype battery was replaced with a production-model battery. The same pool of drivers was used during vehicle evaluation.
When compared with the standard hybrid, the plug-in hybrid, at 68 mpg US (3.5 L/100km), achieved a 58% increase in gas mileage, a 37% decrease in carbon dioxide tailpipe emissions, and a 10% reduction in fuel costs.
When compared with a conventional gasoline-fueled vehicle that averages 22 mpg US, the plug-in hybrid achieved a 68% reduction in tailpipe emissions and a 54% reduction in overall fuel costs.
SDG&E announced the findings as state regulators and utilities met in San Francisco to discuss the role of utilities in advancing the electric and natural gas vehicle marketplace and fueling infrastructure.
California’s electricity capacity could recharge as many as 4 million plug-in hybrids when charged during off-peak hours when electricity use is low. The plug-in hybrid’s fuel-cost savings over traditional gasoline-powered vehicles would save these 4 million consumers approximately $4.2 billion a year at today’s average gasoline price of $3 per gallon when compared to 15 cents per kilowatt-hour of electricity for 14,400 miles driven annually.
With SDG&E’s deployment of smart meter technology, the interface with these vehicles in the future will allow customers to schedule charging time and select the lowest rate for charging.
SDG&E said the study results confirm the viability of electricity as a clean and low-cost transportation fuel and validate the increased efficiencies of plug-in hybrid technology.
California has the most aggressive greenhouse-gas reduction goals in the nation, with nearly 40 percent of those emissions coming from transportation. Integrating clean transportation alternatives, like plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles, will be critical to achieving the state’s goals. SDG&E will do its part to help ensure the San Diego region is “plug-in” ready when electric vehicles hit the road.—Hal Snyder, vice president of customer solutions for SDG&E
SDG&E expects the OEM plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles due on the market in late 2010 will exhibit efficiencies higher than those demonstrated in SDG&E’s study.
The converted plug-in hybrids recharge their batteries through a standard 110-volt household outlet and charge in five to six hours for a 5 kWh lithium-ion battery. In the future, plug-in electric vehicles will primarily charge off of 220-volt for faster charge time on larger batteries, SDG&E projected.
SDG&E is part of a 48-utility coalition with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and General Motors to advance the deployment of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. The collaborative is working to accelerate large-scale deployment of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and create a blueprint for an electric fuel infrastructure. The collaborative also is addressing issues that ensure safe and convenient vehicle charging, public education, and public policy requirements to enable a smooth introduction of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles as a transportation alternative to conventional vehicles.
In March, SDG&E announced it would partner with Nissan Motor Co. to help develop the market for zero-emission electric vehicles and charging infrastructure in the San Diego region. Under the partnership, SDG&&E is serving as the local San Diego coordinator to help assemble a critical mass of regional electric vehicle fleets that municipalities, universities, the military , the port, private fleets and others use daily. The public-private collaborative is working to further develop and fine-tune the charging infrastructure, which is the critical link in making the vehicles commercially viable. (Earlier post.)
US Department of Energy, Vehicle Technologies Program, Advanced Vehicle Testing Activity (AVTA) Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) Overview (May 2009)