Developing a Vehicle Cost Calculator to Promote Electric Vehicle Adoption among TNC Drivers

This research will develop a total cost of ownership (TCO) model and online vehicle cost calculator (VCC) for transport network company (TNC) drivers. Many VCCs have been developed to support consumers in calculating the relative costs of electric and gas vehicles, but their design and the TCO models that underlie them are geared toward traditional vehicle ownership. The characteristics of the gig economy, including income variability, can make the decision to adopt an expensive and evolving vehicle technology like electric vehicles (EVs) harder for TNC drivers, and alternative vehicle acquisition models are being explored to fit this market (e.g., short-term rentals). This research will build a TCO model that accounts for alternative vehicle acquisition types and captures all the relevant parameters for total cost of driving (TCD) for the TNC use case. A VCC that uses this TCO model will be designed based on user research with TNC drivers, e.g., it may highlight particular EV models or acquisition modes (e.g., leasing or renting) that would increase their earning potential, and/or articulate the vehicle use conditions under which a preferred EV model would result in better TCO compared to a given conventional or hybrid gas car.

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