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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Household Markets for Neighborhood Electric Vehicles in California

  • Author(s): Kurani, Kenneth S.;
  • Sperling, Daniel;
  • Lipman, Timothy;
  • Stanger, Deborah;
  • Turrentine, Thomas;
  • Stein, Aram
  • et al.

As cars proliferated during this century, people came to rely on them more, creating a spiraling dependency. As dependence on cars increased, cars began to dominate land use patterns and transportation infrastructure. Streets were made wider and sidewalks narrower or non-existent. Now, most people in suburban neighborhoods often do not consider walking, bicycling, or even riding transit. Automobility has spiraled upward, creating, in an iterative fashion, increasingly auto-centric infrastructure and social behavior.

Some excesses of automobile dependence can be avoided, but, at least for the U.S. and other affluent countries, private transportation is here to stay into the foreseeable future (Sperling, 1995). The growing tensions between demand for greater automobility and demand for more environmental quality can be eased, however, with more environmentally benign vehicles. One, strategy is to use very small electric vehicles, for now referred to as neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs). Not only will they reduce environmental degradation, but they also could be a catalyst in creating more environmentally benign, human-scale communities.

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