November 9, 2018


The anthropology of a future; a review of 25 years of research into the potential of electric drive vehicles


1:40pm - 3:00pm


1605 Tilia, Room 1103, West Village


In 1990, the California Air Resources Board decided that it would mandate electric vehicles. This bold act would launch a series of empirical research projects at ITS-Davis, several careers and a research center, all aiming to understand if such a future was possible. In particular would consumers adopt the new technology if it was developed. Or maybe more to the point, under what technical and policy conditions would consumers adopt? This is a review of those ITS-Davis projects, our methods and findings. What did we learn along the way about this kind of research and how to study a history that was always a few years away.

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Tom Turrentine was the Founding Director of the Plug-in Hybrid Electric & Vehicle Research Center at the Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis. Tom is an anthropologist, and for 30 years, Tom researched consumer response to alternative fuels, vehicle technologies, road systems, and policies with environmental benefits at the Institute of Transportation Studies. His work included multi-year projects with governments and automakers to study how Plug-in Electric Vehicles fit with lifestyles in regions and cities around the world. He retired in September 2018, but retains an interest in the future of electric drive, and continues to advise his colleagues at the PH&EV Center but spends most of his time now recreating and woodworking.

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