Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions nationally, responsible for 28% of U.S. emissions, and a major source globally, accounting for roughly 15% of GHG emissions worldwide. Because liquid fuels are so well suited for powering cars, trucks, boats and aircraft, transportation is historically reliant on oil.

We have a societal opportunity to deflect the planet’s climate trajectory by converting cars, and as much as possible trucks, ships, and planes to use renewable, decarbonized energy sources, particularly electricity. However, without greater research progress this transition may not occur at a rate and scale sufficient to avoid irreversible environmental damage and associated economic and public health losses. Our goal: replace fossil-fueled mobility with Flexible, Affordable, and Sustainable Transportation (FAST).

Multiple transportation energy projects at the University of Michigan examine strategies — both technology options and public policies — for addressing emissions from the sector. Grounded in natural sciences and engineering, U-M’s transportation energy research also draws on economics, other social sciences and public policy, engaging the expertise of faculty affiliates across the campus. The goal is to develop breakthroughs that will enable a FAST transition to low-carbon mobility systems and to inform industry, policymakers and the public about cost-effective ways to mitigate transportation sector CO₂ emissions globally, nationally and regionally.

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The above graphic contains a representative sample of transportation energy faculty on U-M’s campus. To dive deeper into faculty research and specializations, visit our Faculty Affiliate index.

Beginning with the University’s North Campus, the University of Michigan Electrify M Living Laboratory (pictured below) will enable flexible electric vehicle fast charging through novel designs and management of on-site battery storage, the local electric grid, and renewable energy sources. It will repurpose aged electric vehicle battery packs for cost-effective energy storage to smooth out electric vehicle charging loads, manage building electricity demands in concert with the needs of electric vehicle charging and how much energy wind and solar are providing, and optimize the use of DC fast-chargers for bus fleet applications. Useful business metrics such as cost per useful mile traveled and greenhouse gas emissions avoided will be created for fleet users.

In addition to reducing the University’s greenhouse gas emissions, the Electrify M Living Laboratory will serve engineering students and faculty, providing data in the electric power grid and transportation areas.  

To learn more about ElectrifyM, contact Energy Institute Director Anna Stefanopoulou.

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The ElectrifyM effort leverages resources and collaborations with unique laboratories: The Energy Institute Battery Lab, the Michigan Power and Energy Lab (MPEL), the MAir), Centers like the Automotive Research Center and institutes (MCity, MIDAS).