Names of presenting authors are given in boldface.

Making the Shift: Attracting Conventional Drivers to Electric Vehicles in China’s Developing Car Market

Ziwen Ling,1 Christopher Cherry2 and Yi Wen2

1 Transportation and Mobility Planning Division, Virginia Department of Transportation, Richmond
2 Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Tennessee-Knoxville, Knoxville

As the Chinese economy rises along with its middle class, the trend toward driving has been rapid. Shifting more potential conventional vehicle (CV) users to electric vehicles (EVs) is an efficient and effective way to reduce China’s challenges with regard to energy, air pollution, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Though current policies have covered many areas for promoting electric vehicles, electric-car drivership is still in the very early phase, with low market shares. It is not yet clear how the Chinese public perceives electric vehicles or what kinds of factors will encourage potential vehicle customers inclining to electric vehicles. This study examines the household vehicle purchase decisions of a 1,216-person sample in Beijing, China using the intercept survey method. From the survey responses, we found that statistical differences exist between future electric vehicle buyers, future CV buyers, and people who have no purchase plan with regard to their experience with electric vehicles, general rating of electric vehicles, and social norms concerning CVs and EVs. Two choice models were developed. The first was to estimate the subjects’ intention to buy a car in the near future, and the other was to assess attributes that contribute to choosing CV cars, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), and battery electric vehicles (BEVs). The results show that the chances of purchasing either PHEVs or BEVs increased with gender (male) and high household income. People’s pre-existing inclination to choose a CV decreased their chances of purchasing EVs. Chances of buying PHEVs declined among people who planned to have a driver license in 3 years or a longer duration of first motorized vehicle ownership. The subjects’ household number of electric bicycles increased their chances of purchasing HEVs. In addition, people who had driven or ridden in an EV previous to the study had a greater chance of buying a BEV, but people who already had a driver’s license and high purchase budget had lesser chances of purchasing a BEV. Policy recommendation based on customers’ perspectives are offered based on the results, including direct monetary benefits to driving EVs, daily use benefits, effective advertising and promotion policies, impact on middle- and low-income markets and part of the top-end market, celebrity influence, the development of well configured micro EVs, and test-driving and free-driving activities.

View Yi Wen’s presentation slides.

Public Charging Infrastructure for Plug-in Electric Vehicles: What is it worth?

David L. Greene,1 Eleftheria Kontou,2 Brennan Borlaug,3 Aaron Brooker3 and Matteo Muratori3

1 Howard H. Baker, Jr., Center for Public Policy, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
2 Department of City and Regional Planning, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
3 National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, Colorado

The lack of convenient, publicly accessible charging infrastructure is an important barrier to the growth of the plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) market. Non-residential charging infrastructure has both tangible and intangible value, such as reducing range anxiety or building confidence in the future of the PEV market. Quantifying the value of public charging infrastructure can inform benefit-cost analysis of investment decisions and can help project the impact of charging infrastructure on future PEV sales. This paper focuses on quantifying the tangible value of public PEV charging stations in terms of their ability to displace gasoline use for PHEVs and to enable additional electric (e-) vehicle miles for BEVs, thereby mitigating the limitations of shorter range and longer refueling time. Simulation modeling provides a means of quantifying e-miles enabled by public charging infrastructure. The value of these e-miles is inferred from econometric estimates of willingness to pay for increased vehicle range. We then synthesize functions that estimate the willingness to pay for public charging infrastructure by plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and all-electric vehicles (BEV), conditional on vehicle range, annual vehicle travel, pre-existing charging infrastructure, energy prices, vehicle efficiency, and household income. We use California’s public charging network in 2017 as a case study to illustrate the value to PEV owners of public charging infrastructure. The results indicate that the existing public Level 2 charging infrastructure was worth more than $400 to the owner of a 30-mile range PHEV. Existing public fast chargers in California are estimated to be worth about $1,500 for intraregional travel to the owner of a BEV with a 100-mile range and home charging, while the network of fast chargers along intercity routes is valued at over $6,500.

View Matteo Muratori’s presentation slides.

Electricity Rates for Electric Vehicle Direct Current Fast Charging in the U.S.

 Matteo Muratori,1 Eleftheria Kontou1 and Joshua Eichman1

1 National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, Colorado

While several efforts are promoting a widespread and convenient network of direct-current fast-charging (DCFC) stations to support electric vehicles, there is limited understanding of the magnitude and variability of the cost of electricity for these applications. This information gap may hinder optimal investing and planning for charging station placement and in turn affect electric vehicle adoption and usage. Here, we assess the electricity cost for different scenarios of DCFC station size and use based on over 7,500 commercial and industrial electricity rates available for 2017 across the United States. Results show that the cost of electricity for DCFC varies dramatically, ranging from less than $0.10 to over $2 per kilowatt-hour, depending on station design, and high uncertainty in use. The main driver is low utilization, which results from a combination of charging events and the energy consumed during each event. Low-utilization leads to significantly higher electricity cost, particularly for rates with demand charges; however, cost decreases rapidly as utilization increases. For high-utilization stations selecting rates with demand charges can actually reduce electricity costs compared to non-demand charge rates. Moreover, significant opportunities for cost savings based on existing rates include preferential charging during off-peak hours and limiting multi-plug station power so that not all plugs can be used simultaneously at maximum power.

View Ria Kontou’s presentation slides.

What Does an Electric Vehicle Replace?

Jianwei Xing,1 Benjamin Leard2 and Shanjun Li3

1 National School of Development, Peking University
2 Resources for the Future
3 Dyson School of Applied Economics and. Management, Cornell University

The emissions reductions from the adoption of a new transportation technology depend on the emissions from the new technology relative to those from the displaced technology. We evaluate the emissions reductions from electric vehicles (EVs) by identifying which vehicles would have been purchased had EVs not been available. We do so by estimating a random coefficients discrete choice model of new vehicle demand and simulating counterfactual sales with EVs no longer subsidized or removed from the new vehicle market. Our results suggest that vehicles that EVs replace are relatively fuel-efficient: EVs replace gasoline vehicles with an average fuel economy of 4.2 mpg above the fleet-wide average and 12 percent of them replace hybrid vehicles. This implies that ignoring the non-random replacement of gasoline vehicles would result in overestimating emissions benefits of EVs by 27 percent. Federal income tax credits resulted in a 29 percent increase in EV sales, but 70 percent of the credits were obtained by households that would have bought an EV without the credits. By simulating alternative subsidy designs, we find that a subsidy designed to provide greater incentives to low-income households would have been more cost effective and less regressive.

View Ben Leard’s presentation slides.

Decompositions and Policy Consequences of an Extraordinary Decline in Air Pollution from Electricity Generation

Stephen P. Holland,1 Erin T. Mansur,2 Nicholas Z. Muller3 and Andrew J. Yates4

1 Department of Economics, University of North Carolina, Greensboro
2 Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College
3 Department of Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University
4 Department of Economics and Environment, Ecology and Energy Program, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Annual air pollution damages from U.S. power plants fell from $245 to $133 billion over 2010-2017. Decomposition shows changes in emissions rates and generation shares account for more of this decline than changes in fossil generation and damage valuations. Marginal damages declined in the East from about 9¢ to 6¢ per kWh. This decrease is slower than that of total damages. Marginal damages increased slightly in the West and Texas. The environmental benefit of electric vehicles increased, and they are cleaner than gasoline vehicles on average. The environmental benefit of solar panels decreased in the East but increased elsewhere.

View Stephen Holland’s presentation slides.

The Private and Public Economics of Electric Vehicles

David S. Rapson1 and Erich Muehlegger1

1 University of California, Davis

Electric vehicles (EVs) powered by a renewable electricity sector are a centerpiece of efforts to decarbonize modern economies. Advocates of EVs also claim benefits from improved energy security, local pollutant reductions and lower life cycle costs to consumers. This paper examines the theory and evidence behind these claims and evaluates when we should expect the market to produce the optimal path of EV adoption. The evidence is mixed. While EVs lead to pollution reductions in some locations, they increase pollution in others. While some consumers enjoy cost savings from EVs, others experience net benefits from choosing gasoline-powered cars, even after accounting for EV subsidies. The policy landscape is also complicated and often creates conflicting incentives for EV adoption in regions with ambitious EV adoption goals (e.g. high electricity prices and high EV subsidies). We make several policy recommendations based on these findings including 1) promoting regional variation in EV policies that align the social net benefits with incentive programs, 2) rationalizing electricity and gasoline prices to reflect their social marginal cost, and 3) pursuing a time-path of policies that follows the trajectory of marginal benefits. On the extensive margin, incentives should ramp down as learning-by-doing and network externalities diminish; on the intensive margin, optimal incentives intensify as marginal benefits increase from ever-cleaner eVMT.

View Erich Muehlegger’s presentation slides.

The Dual-credit Policy: Quantifying the Policy Impact on Plug-in Electric Vehicle Sales and Industry Profits in China

Shiqi Ou,1 Zhenhong Lin,1 Liang Qi,2 Jie Li,2 Xin He3 and Steven Przesmitzki3

1 National Transportation Research Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
2 China Automotive Technology and Research Center, Tianjin
3 Aramco Services Company: Aramco Research Center, Detroit

The “Passenger Cars Corporate Average Fuel Consumption and New Energy Vehicle Credit Regulation” (dual-credit policy) was enacted by the Chinese government in 2017 to stimulate the fuel-efficient and electrification technologies in the China’s passenger vehicle market. This study summarizes the dual-credit policy and develops the New Energy and Oil Consumption Credits Model to quantify the impacts of this policy on consumer choices and industry profits, where internal subsidies as decision variables are used to represent industry responses to the policy. Scenarios in 2016-2020 are simulated and discussed. Key findings from the model results include: (1) the Corporate Average Fuel Consumption rules alone may stimulate more plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) sales than the dual-credit policy; however, (2) the dual-credit policy could stimulate more battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in market, compared to other policy scenarios; (3) the industry could “lose” approximately $2,122/vehicle by 2020 under the dual-credit policy; (4) battery electric sedans with a range greater than 250 km and plug-in hybrid SUVs could be popular under the dual-credit policy; (5) credit allocations for BEVs in the dual-credit policy can influence the PEV production; and (6) reduction of the fuel-efficient technology costs helps to minimize profit losses impacted by the policy.

View Zhenhong Lin‘s presentation slides.

The paper on which Dr. Lin’s presentation was based was published in Energy Policy 121: 597-610, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2018.06.017

Effectiveness of China’s Plug-in Electric Vehicle Subsidy

Tamara L. Sheldon1,2 and Rubal Dua2

1 Department of Economics, University of South Carolina, Columbia
2 King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Subsidies for promoting plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) adoption are a key component of China’s overall plan for reducing local air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the light-duty vehicle sector. In this paper, we explore the impact and cost-effectiveness of the Chinese PEV subsidy program. In particular, a vehicle choice model is estimated using a large random sample of individual level, model year 2017 Chinese new vehicle purchases. The choice model is then used to predict PEV market share under alternative policies. Simulation results suggest that the 2.5% PEV market share of Chinese new vehicle sales in 2017 resulted in China’s new vehicle fleet fuel economy improving by roughly 2%, reducing total gasoline consumption by roughly 6.66 billion liters. However, the current PEV subsidy in China is expensive, costing $1.90 per additional liter of gasoline saved. This is due to a large number of non-additional PEV buyers, particularly high income consumers, who would have purchased the PEV regardless of the subsidy. Eliminating the subsidy for high income consumers and increasing it for low income consumers could result in a substantially lower cost per additional PEV ($13,758 versus $24,506). This would allow for greater PEV adoption (3.11% versus 2.47% market share) for the same budget.

Presentation slides not available.

Alternative-Fuel-Vehicle Policy Interactions Increase U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Alan Jenn,1 Inês M.L. Azevedo2 and Jeremy J. Michalek2,3

1 Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis
2 Department of Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University
3 Department of Mechanical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University

The transportation sector is currently the largest contributor of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the United States, and light-duty vehicles produce the majority of transportation emissions. Federal standards for fleet-averaged vehicle GHG emission rates and their corresponding corporate average fuel economy standards cap GHG emissions of the US light-duty vehicle fleet. In addition, two key policies aim to encourage a future fleet transition to alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) technologies: (1) incentives that treat AFVs favorably in the federal GHG standard, and (2) state zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) policy, which mandates AFV sales in some states. While each of these AFV policies can encourage AFV adoption, we show that net GHG emissions increase when both policies are present simultaneously. Specifically, we estimate changes in life cycle GHG emissions and gasoline consumption, relative to a pure federal fleet GHG standard (without AFV incentives or mandates), resulting from the introduction of (1) AFV incentives in federal fleet GHG policy, (2) state ZEV mandates, and (3) the combination of the two. We find that under fairly general conditions the combined AFV policies produce higher GHG emissions than either policy alone. This result is a consequence of state mandates increasing AFV sales in the presence of federal incentives that relax the fleet GHG standard when AFVs are sold. Using AFV sales projections from the Energy Information Administration and the California Air Resources Board, we estimate that the combined policies produce an increase on the order of 100 million tons of CO2 emissions cumulatively for new passenger cars sold from 2012 through 2025 relative to a pure GHG standard. AFV incentives in the GHG standard conflate policy goals by encouraging AFV adoption at the cost of higher fleet GHG emissions, and they permit even higher fleet GHG emissions when other policies, such as the ZEV mandate, increase AFV adoption.

View Jeremy Michalek’s presentation slides.