Electric Vehicle Assessment and Leveraging of Unified Models toward Abatement of Emissions

Vehicle electrification is currently considered one of the most attractive means of decarbonizing major segments of the transportation sector and can also directly contribute to improvements in urban air quality and public health. In spite of substantial progress and proactive policy support, the environmental impacts of electric vehicles (EVs) under deep deployment scenarios is poorly understood. In future scenarios where EVs demand a double-digit share of available electric power, marginal CO2 intensity during (off-peak) EV charging times will typically be higher than annual average CO2 rates from the bulk power grid, upon which many current studies base their projections. This research will explore this risk of diminishing returns at high penetration rates, and will help characterize a kind of “Goldilocks” condition for intermediate term EV deployment. That is, it will afford opportunities to take advantage of excess capacity at low CO2 intensity, and provide quantitative guidance for the research community and policymakers regarding optimal rates of EV growth, net benefits, public infrastructure investment and priority, fiscal incentives, and utility resource planning. The project will heavily leverage the team’s unique datasets and will integrate high fidelity sub-system models that govern vehicle energy consumption, travel demands, and temporal emission profiles associated electric power generation dispatch. While initially based on regional case studies, the integrated modeling and methodologies will be scalable and broadly adaptable for conducting similar analyses in other regions.

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