February 11, 08
Raser Testing 100mpg Plug-In Hybrid SUV

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. plans to test plug-in hybrid SUVs, the utility said this week.

The vehicles, from from Raser Technologies Inc., are designed to achieve more than 100 miles per gallon in typical daily driving, with little to no greenhouse gas emissions.

San Francisco-based PG&E said it will buy two plug-in hybrid SUVs from Raser (NYSE: RZ), which is based in Provo, Utah, for demonstration and testing, with the goal to integrate additional vehicles into its fleet in the future.

The vehicles are expected to cut operational fuel costs by up to 75 percent by running in all-electric mode during typical daily fleet routes of up to 40 miles. When driving beyond the 40-mile battery electric range, the plug-in hybrids may continue up to 400 miles by generating their own electricity.

The plug-in vehicles are also expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the vehicle itself to nearly zero during local daily driving. PG&E plans to plug the vehicles in at night, when energy demand is lowest, to maximize emission reductions and fuel savings for daily routes. The utility didn't specify how much greenhouse gas would be created generating electricity to charge the vehicles, or say how much net greenhouse gas emission the vehicles would save.

Subsequent versions of the vehicles are expected to provide emergency mobile power from the vehicles' onboard 100-kW generator to assist in power outages or provide mobile power for work and repairs.

PG&E demonstrated the possibility of electric vehicles to supply homes and business with electricity at a Silicon Valley Leadership Group event in April 2007. PG&E also shared this technical expertise with Google Inc. in June 2007 to upgrade a number of company-owned plug-in hybrids.

More recently, PG&E entered into a partnership with an electric vehicle manufacturer to develop vehicle-to-grid (V2G) for remote control charging of electric vehicles.