Date of Original Version

8-2010

Type

Conference Proceeding

Abstract or Description

Electrified vehicles, including plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs), have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from personal transportation by shifting energy demand from gasoline to electricity. GHG reduction potential depends on vehicle design, adoption, driving and charging patterns, charging infrastructure, and electricity generation mix. We construct an optimization model to study these factors by determining optimal design of conventional vehicles (CVs), hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), PHEVs, and BEVs and optimal allocation of vehicle designs and charging infrastructure in the fleet for minimum lifecycle GHG emissions over a range of scenarios. We focus on vehicles with similar size and acceleration to a Toyota Prius under urban EPA driving conditions. We find that under today’s U.S. average grid mix, the vehicle fleet allocated for minimum GHG emissions includes HEVs and PHEVs with ~30 miles (48 km) of electric range. Allocating only CVs, HEVs, PHEVs, or BEVs will produce 86%, 1%, 0%, or 13+% more life cycle GHG emissions, respectively. Unlike BEVs, PHEVs do consume some gasoline; however, PHEVs can power a large portion of vehicle miles on electrical energy while accommodating infrequent long trips without need for a large battery pack, with its corresponding production and weight implications. Availability of workplace charging for 90% of vehicles optimistically reduces optimized GHG emissions by 0.5%. Under decarbonized grid scenarios, larger battery packs are more competitive and reduce life cycle GHG emissions significantly. Future work will relax modeling assumptions and address life cycle cost and cost-effectiveness of GHG reductions.

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Published In

Proceedings of the Transportation Research Board, 2011.