UC Davis Transportation Alumnus Nic Lutsey Receives National Automotive Policy Award

UC Davis alumnus Nic Lutsey has received a prestigious national award for “Excellence in Automotive Policy Analysis” from the global engineering association SAE International.

A program director in the Washington D.C. office of the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), Dr. Lutsey was honored with SAE International’s Barry D. McNutt Award for his expansive research and writing on light duty vehicle efficiency, technology, and regulation. The award recognizes the span of his output, from his days as graduate student and post-doctoral researcher in the UC Davis Transportation Technology and Policy (TTP) Graduate Program consulting with the California Air Resources Board, to his work with ICCT.

Lutsey received his master’s degree in 2003 and his doctorate in 2008 from the TTP Graduate Program. He has co-authored 19 peer-reviewed journal articles and dozens of reports on technology potential, federal and state regulatory design, industry compliance, and cost effectiveness for vehicles and alternative fuels.  In California, as a postdoctoral researcher at ITS-Davis, he conducted technical analysis for the California Air Resources Board regulations on greenhouse gas emissions.

“It’s a great honor to be listed with the other people who have won the award,” said Lutsey. “I’ve cited David Greene and John German, and other previous winners many times in published reports. They’ve made a lasting impact, and to be mentioned along with them is very exciting to me.”

UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS-Davis) Director Dan Sperling, who was his graduate advisor, lauded Lutsey as an outstanding scientist and researcher, highly deserving of national recognition. “Nic is a brilliant and productive scholar who has been having a big impact on automotive policy ever since his graduate student days”, said Sperling. “We’re very proud of Nic and all that he has accomplished.”

Today, Lutsey directs ICCT’s global heavy-duty vehicle, fuels, and electric vehicle work and co-leads the international non-profit organization’s work in the United States.  With federal and California state light duty passenger regulation now well established, Lutsey has shifted his focus to the “next big thing.” At the moment, this means providing the best data and analysis for heavy-duty truck regulations in the U.S. and elsewhere and helping inform policymakers on the future transition to electric vehicles.

Lutsey said ITS-Davis positioned him very well for his ongoing work technology and policy work today. At ITS-Davis, he said, you get the “technical chops from rigorous coursework” as well as “real-world relevant research experience. You learn to ask the right questions from a lot of different angles and how to concisely distill, deliver, and brief on massive amounts of scientific analysis,” he said.

Lutsey will receive the Barry D. McNutt Award for Excellence in Automotive Policy Analysis at the SAE 2015 Government/Industry Meeting in Washington, D.C. in January.

The global association SAE International is a “knowledge source” for the engineering profession, uniting more than 148,000 engineers and technical experts and driving knowledge and expertise across a broad spectrum of industries.