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SMUD to invest up to $15M in California Mobility Center; electric and autonomous vehicle technologies

The SMUD (Sacramento Municipal Utility District) Board of Directors formally approved its Founding Membership in the California Mobility Center, including an initial investment of $5 million to establish the Center. An additional $10 million will be made available once matching funds are committed by other partners.

The California Mobility Center is a joint initiative between SMUD and local and regional institutions, including: the Los Rios Community College District; California State University, Sacramento; University of California, Davis; Valley Vision; City of Sacramento; and, the Greater Sacramento Economic Council, to build a world-class, electric vehicle prototyping facility that will develop and promote electric and autonomous vehicle technologies in the greater Sacramento region.

The California Mobility Center is envisioned as a public-private consortium that will bring together technology companies, automakers, utilities, entrepreneurs, top researchers, and investors to provide innovative products and services in the rapidly expanding mobility market. The Sacramento region is uniquely positioned to leverage public policy, research, electric vehicle expertise and advanced manufacturing as we position Sacramento as a leader in clean transportation. The California Mobility Center will help redefine our region, spur economic development, and provide new workforce opportunities throughout our region.

—SMUD CEO and General Manager Arlen Orchard

This Mobility Center is intended to be a financially sustainable policy and technology focused consortium, comprising public and private entities collaborating to:

  1. Promote the development of clean transportation and autonomous vehicle technology to cut emissions.

  2. Accelerate the commercialization of electric mobility technologies and services.

  3. Facilitate development of open-sourced standards and policies for connected and autonomous vehicles.

  4. Establish a mobility network in Sacramento that will provide an innovative environment for new and prospering companies, entrepreneurs, advanced technologies and investors.

  5. Conduct advanced research, development and demonstration projects that can be quickly commercialized for worldwide adoption of electric mobility.

The Center will tie together with the Autonomous Transportation Open Standards (ATOS) Lab, launched by the City of Sacramento in 2017 to develop regulations and standards for autonomous vehicles. PEM Motion and EnerTech Capital are key industry partners supporting the Center.

PEM Motion is a German engineering consulting group that has successfully launched a prototyping facility in Aachen Germany for the automotive mobility sector, creating a revival of manufacturing and technology jobs in that city.

PEM Motion has demonstrated that their approach can assist with commercialization of technologies twice as fast as traditional automotive practices for one tenth of the cost. Once established here, the Center will support, fund and commercialize new electric 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.

The initial investment from SMUD will provide the necessary capital to recruit other Founding Members, and support third-party contracts required to establish Center operations, including planning for the construction of an advanced electric mobility technology prototyping and testing facility in Sacramento.

SMUD has already funded two feasibility studies to support the development of the California Mobility Center and has garnered international interest from potential investors.

SMUD is the US’ sixth-largest community-owned, not-for-profit, electric service provider. SMUD’s power mix is about 50% non-carbon emitting.



Instead of funding college researchers studying what we already know, this money would be better spend to help offset the cost of actually buying the EVs and getting ICEVs off the road.

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