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SMUD announces regional initiative to develop a future mobility center in Sacramento

Sacramento’s SMUD, the US’ sixth-largest community-owned, not-for-profit, electric service provider, will develop a model for a future Mobility Center that will foster innovation in the clean transportation sector and serve as a catalyst for carbon reduction and inclusive economic development.

SMUD is funding two feasibility studies to support the Mobility Center. The Mobility Center would bring existing regional efforts to secure an electric vehicle prototyping hub and the Autonomous Transportation Open Standards initiative under one umbrella organization. The Mobility Center is envisioned as a public-private partnership of governmental entities, leading universities, electric utilities, technology and automotive companies, and venture capitalists.

Once up and running, the Mobility Center will support, fund and commercialize new mobility technologies including electric vehicles, autonomous transportation, battery storage, shared mobility solutions, public transit and new business and policy models for adoption on the international stage.

As the Capitol of California, Sacramento is uniquely positioned to leverage cutting edge public policy, electric transportation expertise, university research, and an innovative ecosystem to lead in developing, supporting and testing emerging transportation technologies, and business and policy models, while at the same time improving the environmental, social and economic vitality of communities across our region. SMUD is proud to support the Sacramento region in taking a leading role in the future of mobility and this is the first step.

—SMUD CEO and General Manager Arlen Orchard

This announcement puts in motion a feasibility study conducted by German based PEM Aachen GmbH, which has extensive expertise in key facets of the mobility sector. Spun off from RWTH Aachen University, PEM currently has a large testing and prototyping facility in Germany and has a strong interest in expanding with a location in the Sacramento area.

Organized by the Greater Sacramento Economic Council, city of Sacramento officials, business leaders and university representatives visited the PEM facilities in 2018 and came away impressed.

In 2017, the city of Sacramento and business leaders helped launch the Autonomous Transportation Open Standards initiative to position Sacramento as a testbed for connected and autonomous vehicles throughout the Sacramento region. The Mobility Center will build on the ATOS model by providing a full life cycle suite of services from idea all the way to market.

In addition to PEM, EnerTech Capital has been retained to develop a financially sustainable consortium framework with a goal of attracting global investors to the Mobility Center. With offices in Toronto, Philadelphia, Montreal, Menlo Park and Calgary, EnerTech is a venture capital firm specializing in early to growth stage companies in the energy, transportation and technology space.

While the feasibility studies are funded by SMUD, the concept of a Mobility Center has garnered the interest of regional leaders such as the Greater Sacramento Economic Council, city of Sacramento, Sacramento County, University of California, Davis, Sacramento State, Valley Vision and VSP, as well as policy makers and venture capitalists.

Once the feasibility studies are completed in late March, supporters will begin the process of securing partners and investors in the new Mobility Center.

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