January 14, 2011

Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle GHG Impacts in California: Integrating Consumer Research with an Electricity Supply Model

Time

1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m

Location

1065 Kemper Hall, UC Davis

Speaker(s)

Dr. Jonn Axsen, Post Doctoral Researcher, ITS- Davis, UC Davis

Abstract

We explore how plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) may reduce source-to-wheel greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from passenger vehicles. The two primary advances are the incorporation of 1) explicit measures of consumer interest in and potential use of different types of PHEVs and 2) a model of the California electricity grid capable of differentiating hourly and seasonal GHG emissions by generation source. We construct PHEV emissions scenarios to address inherent relationships between vehicle design, driving and recharging behaviors, seasonal and time-of-day variation in GHG-intensity of electricity, and total GHG emissions. A sample of 877 California new vehicle buyers provide data on driving, time of day recharge access, and PHEV design interests. The elicited data differ substantially from the assumptions used in previous analyses. We construct electricity demand profiles scaled to one million PHEVs and input them into an hourly California electricity supply model to simulate GHG emissions. Compared to conventional vehicles, consumer-designed PHEVs cut marginal (incremental) GHG emissions by more than one-third in current California energy scenarios and by one-quarter in future energy scenarios—reductions similar to those simulated for all-electric PHEV designs. Across the emissions scenarios, long-term GHG reductions depends on reducing the carbon intensity of the grid.

Biographical Sketch

Jonn Axsen earned his Ph.D. in Transportation Technology and Policy at UC Davis, preceded by a Master’s in Environmental Management at Simon Fraser University. He is now a post-doctoral scholar at UC Davis, working with the Plug-in Hybrid and Electric Vehicle (PH&EV) Research Center. His primary research interest is the nexus between human behavior, energy-using technology and environmental policy. Research projects have included characterizing the market for plug-in hybrid vehicles, estimating energy impacts, and observing processes of social influence within car buyers’ social networks.

Jonn  Axsen earned his Ph.D. in Transportation Technology and Policy at UC Davis,  preceded by a Master’s in Environmental Management at Simon Fraser   University. He is now a  post-doctoral scholar at UC Davis, working with the Plug-in Hybrid and Electric  Vehicle (PH&EV) Research   Center. His primary  research interest is the nexus between human behavior, energy-using technology  and environmental policy. Research projects have included  characterizing the market for plug-in hybrid vehicles,  estimating energy impacts, and observing processes of social  influence within car buyers’ social networks.