Today, SMUD CEO and General Manager Arlen Orchard unveiled a vision for the Sacramento region to lead the way in mobility by developing 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.
Building on California’s policy leadership in tackling greenhouse gas emissions, and SMUD’s commitment to electric transportation and innovative mobility solutions, 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,” said Orchard. “SMUD is proud to support the Sacramento region in taking a leading role in the future of mobility and this is the first step.”
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.
“This collaborative effort to build a center of mobility excellence in Sacramento will create economic development, jobs and promote innovative mobility solutions throughout the region,” said Barry Broome, president and CEO of the Greater Sacramento Economic Council. “Expanding mobility will promote a robust workforce and expand opportunities in disadvantaged communities.”
Once the feasibility studies are completed in late March, supporters will begin the process of securing partners and investors in the new Mobility Center.
As the nation’s sixth-largest community-owned, not-for-profit, electric service provider, SMUD has been providing low-cost, reliable electricity for more than 70 years to Sacramento County and small adjoining portions of Placer and Yolo Counties. SMUD has been supporting electric vehicle technical and providing innovative customer programs since the 1990s. SMUD is a recognized industry leader and award winner for its innovative energy efficiency programs, renewable power technologies, and for its sustainable solutions for a healthier environment. SMUD’s power mix is about 50 percent non- carbon emitting. For more information, visit smud.org.
About the Greater Sacramento Economic Council
The Greater Sacramento Economic Council is the catalyst for innovative growth strategies in the Capital Region of California. The organization spearheads community-led direction to retain, attract, grow and scale new businesses, develop advanced industries and create jobs and investment throughout a six-county region. Greater Sacramento represents a collaboration between local and state governments, market leaders, influencers and stakeholders, with the sole mission of driving economic growth. The Sacramento Region was founded on discovery, built on leadership and fueled by innovation.