Emissions Impact of Electric Vehicle Adoption on Disadvantaged Communities

The benefits of electric vehicles (EVs) are typically associated with carbon mitigation to address climate change. However, a secondary effect that is much less commonly discussed is the shift of tailpipe pollutant emissions to pollutants coming from the smokestacks of electricity generation units. As electric vehicles are being adopted in relatively wealthier communities, there is a question as to whether pollution is being shifted from these communities to more disadvantaged, lower income communities which tend to be located near fossil fuel power plants. This project proposes to conduct a high-resolution accounting and measurement of the emissions and associated impacts through three phases of research. The first is to determine the pollution reduction from electric vehicle adoption in California at a high spatial resolution and to measure the corresponding electricity load demand from EVs. The second task is to estimate the upstream electricity pollution impacts by running the Grid Operation Optimized Dispatch (GOOD) model (an economic dispatch model that simulates the operation of the electricity grid) to meet the EV demand. Lastly, the health impacts coming from increased pollutant emissions can be determined by using an air quality model such as theEstimating Air pollution Social Impact Using Regression (EASIUR) or the Air Pollution Emission Experiments andPolicy analysis (APEEP) models. The technical work can assess the outcomes of the current and future levels of electric vehicle adoption on health related outcomes of disadvantaged communities.

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