Leading the Charge: ITS-Davis at Plug-in 2014

Where does the Plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) market go next?

The Plug-in 2014 conference in San Jose brought together automotive industry experts and researchers to answer this question by discussing the state of the industry, and what it will take to get more PEVs on roadways.

ITS-Davis Founding Director Daniel Sperling, and Plug-in Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Research Center Director Tom Turrentine took the stage to share their thoughts on next steps for the industry.

Sperling presented 3 new policy ideas to support the transition to low emission vehicles. The first strategy is called “eMiles,” which would convert vehicle volume requirements into an eMile-based performance standard. Since auto manufacturers would receive credit, they will be encouraged to help consumers drive and charge their vehicles more often.

Another important strategy he proposed is a revenue neutral policy called “feebates,” where buyers of traditional gas powered cars pay a fee, and buyers of energy efficient vehicles receive cash rebates.

Sperling’s third strategy turned the spotlight to trucks, which are inherently less suited to batteries and other zero emission strategies. He proposed charging fees for trucks where pollution levels are high relative to the local population. This will push truck fleets to avoid high pollution zones and instead deploy energy efficient electric trucks in those areas.

Tom Turrentine emphasized how early adopters of PEVs will be the source of market growth. He noted that these enthusiastic and informed buyers will grow the market by spreading the word and encouraging others to buy the vehicles.

In the final panel of the conference, Turrentine reflected on ways the industry could improve itself going forward. Educating the next generation through school curriculum, researching and exploring untapped parts of the market, and further integrating dealers into the PEV conversation, were just a few of these important future strategies.

During the conference BMW announced the launch of their new 24 kW DC fast charger to launch with their i3 electric cars. Nissan also announced that the Leaf is the top selling car in Atlanta, Portland, and San Francisco.

ITS-Davis also launched the EV Explorer, a new website for comparing annual vehicle energy costs. For more information, click here.

Photo credit: Gene Ang