Expectations versus Experience: The Case of Plug-in Electric Vehicles and Their Policy Implications

Expectations versus Experience: The Case of Plug-in Electric Vehicles and Their Policy Implications

Battery electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles collectively addressed as plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs), are central to achieving California’s long-term greenhouse gas emission reduction goals. The net environmental impact and petroleum displacement potential of PEVs depends on the share of electric vehicle miles traveled which in turn is contingent upon the extent to which PEVs are actually being used in real-world conditions. PEV usage is affected by the interactions between technological capabilities, user preferences, driving and charging behavior, and the role of PEVs in meeting household travel needs. The overarching objective of this research is to provide a unified framework to understand PEV usage revealed from experience of early adopters by considering heterogeneities in household factors, user preferences, and PEV technologies. The outcomes of this dissertation will offer a realistic understanding of the utility of PEVs at the household level; improve energy consumption and emission estimates of PEVs embodied in existing policies, charging infrastructure planning, and electricity grid impact studies; and elucidate how observations about PEV usage today can better inform their future policy needs to increase PEV usage and eVMT.

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