February 13, 2015


How Will We Know When the PEV Market Has Reached Takeoff?


1:40 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.


1605 Tilia, Room 1103, West Village


We are in the initial stages of a transition to plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs), a transition that along with low carbon electricity can enable Zero Emission Vehicles to achieve a wide set of energy policy goals. PEVs worldwide will reach 1 million registrations in late 2015. One million vehicles is a lot of vehicles, but it is a spoonful of success in a big bucket of 1 billion vehicles. So how will we know if or when this transition has taken off and becomes self-sustaining?  How do we determine the right level of support to sustain growth until that moment? I discuss an analytical framework for evaluating progress and suggest some policy options driven by that framework.

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Tom Turrentine is the director of the California Energy Commission’s Plug-in Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Research Center at the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies. For the past 25 years, he has been researching consumer response to alternative fuels, vehicle technologies, road systems, and policies with environmental benefits. His most recent work includes “Taking Charge”, California’s plan for electrification of transport, multi-year projects to study consumer use of the BMW MINI E, PRIUS PHEV conversions, the Nissan Leaf, and specially designed energy feedback displays in vehicles. In the coming years, his center will be working with several car companies and power utilities on purchase and use patterns of new electric and plug-in hybrids, developing tools to advise deployment of infrastructure, integration of plug in vehicles to California’s grid and ways to restructure the cost of lithium batteries.

He studies the role of travel and movement in the evolution of culture, society and lifestyle. He focuses on understanding automobile-based lifestyles, applying anthropological methods and theories to explore potential responses of car users to new technologies and policies aimed at mitigating the negative impacts of automobile infrastructure and use. He has studied consumer responses to electric vehicles, alternative fueled vehicles, micro-vehicles, station car systems, advanced traveler information, and other intelligent transportation systems. He also studies travel behavior and road systems in environmentally sensitive areas, focusing on Yosemite National Park and the Sierra Nevada region in California.

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