Smith Electric Vehicles Evaluating Enova 120kW Drive System
Concept: The Ultra-Efficient, Two-Stroke Bonner Engine

SMUD Testing Valence-EnergyCS Plug-in Hybrid Prius

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.



I wonder how they calculated the gas cost equivalency:

Their residential rates vary from 8 to 17 cents per kwh in 3 separate tiers (based on usage) and with two different sets of prices for winter and summer months (giving a total of 6 different possible prices per kwh). I suppose it could be based on the average energy bill of residential users.

George K

Kudos to SMUD for joining the growing group of PHEV testers. Let’s hope the car manufacturers pick up on this unstoppable trend.

By the way, anyone hear of the results of the Pacific Gas and Electric September PHEV petition with Plug-in partners?


maybe they are including the price for one complete discharge of the battery?


Not sure what they are trying to evaluate here. If they are evaluating batteries... then why not compare a couple different battery manufacturers: A123systems, Altair Nano, Valence...

I would love to see a comparison of cost, # of charge cycles lifetime, energy capacity, power capacity, speed of charging... that'd do it.

Anyone seen this?


I'm paying 18.8c per kwh for electricity here in Boston. If I feed that into a Prius at 0.25 kwh per mile, that's 4.7c per mile. Fifty miles on electricity would cost $2.35 at those rates. Or it would cost one gallon of gas. Which currently retails for $2.11 at the station down the road from my house.

A northward swing in gas prices would make the electricity option cost effective, as would a two-tier electricity pricing scheme with discounted night rates. But between the capital cost premium and the currently inverted margins on the fuel side, a plug-in is still premature for my market. Longer term, they make more sense, especially if one can assume that useful regulatory measures are passed -- reasonably high gas taxes, two tier electricity pricing, eternally stricter urban pollution regulations, etc.


Different place different calculations:

Vancouver $.06 Candian/kwh electricity
... $.98 Canadian/litre gas
fifty miles electric ... $0.80
fifty miles on gas ... $3.92

plug-in now plz.


Over here in the UK it would be:

50 miles electric - £1.25 ($2.25)

50 miles gasoline - £4.09 ($7.36)


Just bought an N-charge VNC130 battery from Valence for my laptop. I will be checking out their Saphion Technology for myself!


With we are at $0.36 per marginal kWh once over 200% of baseline (and we are well over that at our house). They do have a special rate for pure EVs but it doesn't appear to apply to hybrids. PHEVs are going to be a tough sell in this market.



You live in Sunny Southern California.

Solar power is way cheaper than 0.36 per kWh. More like 0.13 per kWh.

Get some solar on that house & stop paying crazy rates.

You can get a loan for it. Check out for some help.

You could be driving your car with the power of the sun. A very easy sell.

kent beuchert

"I'm paying 18.8c per kwh for electricity here in Boston."
Holy Moly. I thought California screwed their citizens
the most completely - they charge 15 cents per kWhr.
Us, we pay 8 cents and are mostly nuclear down here.
Wind turbines would have an easy time undercutting
Bostonian rates - they can often acheive 6 cents per kWhr.
I have a feeling that Boston is simply following the lead of the rest of Mass and taxing their citizens until they scream. None of that money seems to go for road improvements, though.


We pay $0.06357 to $0.205 per kWh depending on the time of year, and CH4 prices used to fire many of the power plants in and around NYC metro area.

The comments to this entry are closed.