SCE Electric Vehicle Reaches 100,000-Mile Milestone

November 07, 2002

November 7, 2002

Utility's EV Fleet Is First Anywhere to Log 8.5 Million Miles

LOS ANGELES, Calif., Nov. 7, 2002-The odometer on one of Southern California Edison's (SCE) electric vehicles (EVs) rolled over to 100,000 miles today-the farthest any plug-in EV anywhere has traveled in real-world driving applications.

Coincidentally, the EV milestone was reached as the Coalition for Clean Air held a celebration at Union Station marking "30 years of clean-air progress."

SCE and Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A, Inc., tracked the performance and reliability of five RAV-4 EVs until they each reached the 100,000-mile mark using their original nickel-metal-hydride battery packs.  Two of the five vehicles are expected to achieve that milestone in early 2003.

SCE's 275 EVs are used primarily by the utility's meter readers, service managers, field representatives, service planners and mail handlers, and for security patrols and carpools.  In 12-plus years of operation, SCE's fleet of EVs has logged nearly 8.5 million miles, eliminating more than 1,000 tons of air pollutants, preventing the emission of 4,500 tons of tailpipe carbon dioxide emissions, avoiding the need for 1,700 oil changes, saving 421,500 gallons of gasoline, and reducing fuel costs by nearly $250,000.

In traveling the equivalent of driving from Los Angeles to New York City 34 times, the first car in SCE's fleet of EVs to reach 100,000 miles did so without emitting a single tailpipe pollutant or using a single quart of oil.

"The performance of these zero-emission EVs demonstrates, once again, that electro-drive technology can play an important role in California's fleet and consumer transportation mix, and can serve as a key tool in addressing the state's still-serious air quality problems," said Bill West, a manager in SCE's electric transportation division.

"There's no question that in many cases, electro-drive technology does the same job as internal-combustion engines," West added.  "And due to lower fuel and maintenance costs, it does the job more economically while improving air quality and energy security."

SCE and Toyota began the 100,000-mile RAV-4 EV project in February 2000 to obtain data on costs, maintenance, battery life, charging issues and other factors with EVs that are used continually long-term.  Employees with long commutes drive the vehicles daily to and from work-either SCE's headquarters in Rosemead, Calif., or its state-of-the-art EV Technical Center in Pomona, Calif. The test data also showed that EVs with advanced batteries are cost-effective to operate and have an equal lifecycle of comparable internal combustion engine vehicles. 

Not only have the EVs met the employees' driving needs, they have proven reliable, with just minimal routine maintenance required, and have demonstrated the long-term durability of the battery packs, motors, controllers and other components.  Given the successful operation of these EVs to date, SCE plans to continue using them even after they roll past 100,000 miles.

To support the 100,000-mile project, Toyota provides technical assistance and any parts needed for the vehicles.

"Toyota commends SCE for their commitment to clean air solutions. As our largest RAV4 EV customer, we also value our partnership in the interest of promoting electric drive technologies, " said Ron Broughman, corporate fleet manager for Toyota.

Besides operating its EV fleet, which also enables SCE to meet federal alternative-fuel vehicle requirements for utilities, SCE's electro-drive program analyzes the potential electric system impacts of various electro-drive technologies, and how to most effectively mitigate those impacts.

More than 300,000 electro-drive products-mainly forklifts, street sweepers, scrubbers and golf carts-already operate in California.  As neighborhood EVs, electric airport ground support equipment, hybrid vehicles and other devices and appliances are added to the electro-drive mix, that number will skyrocket in coming years.

"SCE will continue to help its customers deploy and safely and efficiently operate and charge these electricity-fueled clean alternatives to internal-combustion engine vehicles," said West.

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An Edison International company, Southern California Edison is one of the nation's largest electric utilities, serving a population of more than 12 million via 4.3 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within central, coastal and Southern California.  For more information on the California electricity market, see www.sce.com.