FEV Inc. and Raser Technologies Inc. say two extended-range plug-in series hybrid-electric fullsize SUVs will be on the road by the end of the year, both capable of achieving fuel economy of 100 mpg (2.3 L/100 km).

Pacific Gas & Electric, a West Coast utility company, has agreed to purchase the two fleet SUVs and plans to deploy them this year, as well, says James Spellman, vice president-business development for Raser, based in Provo, UT.

The SUV currently is in production by one of the Detroit Three auto makers and will be adapted with a traction motor, generator and hybrid controls from Raser. FEV will integrate the technology into the production SUV and program the electronic controls.

Neither Raser nor FEV will identify their OEM partner at this time but say that information will come out at an auto show as soon as the third quarter.

The FEV-Raser PHEV is able to travel 40 miles (64 km) in all-electric mode under battery power, with near zero emissions.

The extended-range PHEV integrates Raser's Symetron electric-vehicle technology, which includes a 100 kW continuous AC induction motor; power electronic-traction drive module; 100 kW PM synchronous generating system; and a 700-volt lithium-ion battery pack.

A conventional 2.0L 4-cyl. engine takes the place of a larger V-6 or V-8 generally used to drive a large SUV. The engine does not drive the wheels; it only runs when necessary to charge the battery.

In sequence, the engine runs the generator that charges the battery, which runs the traction motor that drives the transmission and turns the wheels. The configuration works for 2- and 4-wheel drive.

Although the system will work in smaller passenger cars, Spellman says it is important to first demonstrate its capability in fullsize, gas-guzzling SUVs.

When the vehicle is stationary, the batteries can be charged from a conventional wall socket. Charging from a 110-volt socket takes eight to 10 hours, while charging from a 220-volt socket requires about half the time, Spellman says.

The FEV-Raser concept arrives as General Motors Corp. and Toyota Motor Corp. test PHEVs in anticipation of near-term production launches.

Spellman says he expects the FEV-Raser PHEV to be available for fleet sales in two years and for consumer retail sales within three years.