SMUD paves the way for California Mobility Center

Greater Sacramento

May 17, 2019

Provides up to $15 million for transportation innovation

The SMUD Board of Directors took a bold step toward fostering innovation in the region by formally approving 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,” said SMUD CEO and General Manager Arlen Orchard.

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

  • Promote the development of clean transportation and autonomous vehicle technology to cut emissions.
  • Accelerate the commercialization of electric mobility technologies and services.
  • Facilitate development of open-sourced standards and policies for connected and autonomous vehicles.
  • Establish a mobility network in Sacramento that will provide an innovative environment for new and prospering companies, entrepreneurs, advanced technologies and investors.
  • 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 goals and purpose of the Center in promoting electric mobility and related technologies directly support SMUD’s recent adoption of one of the most aggressive integrated resource plans in the country that puts SMUD on the path to net-zero carbon emissions by 2040.

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.

For more information on the California Mobility Center, visit


About SMUD

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 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

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