Date of Award

Winter 2-2015

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Engineering and Public Policy


Paulina Jaramillo

Second Advisor

Jeremy J. Michalek


The societal benefit of electric vehicles depends heavily on how they interact with the electric power system. In this thesis, I investigate the impact of electric vehicles based on this interaction in order to determine the possible benefits of controlling electric vehicle charging and how they compare to other vehicle options based on optimization models of electricity systems. I estimate the cost reductions from controlled charging of electric vehicles in the New York power system both with and without a high wind penetration and with and without the need for capacity expansion. In this power system, controlled charging can reduce the generation costs associated with charging the vehicles in half, with slightly higher cost reductions in high wind scenarios. I also estimate the cost reductions along with the changes in carbon and criteria air pollutant emissions due to controlled charging in the PJM power system. I examine both current and future grid scenarios, several plug-in vehicles types, and a high wind penetration scenario. Again I find that controlled charging can significantly reduce the costs of charging the vehicles, on the order of 30% of the generation costs to meet the charging demand. However, the environmental and health damages from the emissions cause total social costs to be higher with controlled charging in most cases. Finally, using the charging emissions from PJM, I evaluate the lifecycle emissions of plug-in, hybrid, and conventional vehicles in this region to determine which has lower environmental and health damages. I find that given the representative vehicles studied, plug-in electric vehicles have higher lifecycle damages than hybrids in PJM in 2010 but have lower lifecycle damages in a forecasted 2018 PJM power system.