Skip to main content
eScholarship
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Research Reports

Cover page of Facilitating Electric Vehicle Adoption with Vehicle Cost Calculators

Facilitating Electric Vehicle Adoption with Vehicle Cost Calculators

(2020)

Consumer education regarding the costs of electric vehicles (EVs), particularly in comparison with similar gasoline vehicles, is important for adoption. However, the complexity of comparing gasoline and electricity prices, and balancing long-term return-on-investment from fuel and maintenance savings with purchase premiums for EVs, makes it difficult for consumers to assess potential economic advantages. Online vehicle cost calculators (VCCs) may help consumers navigate this complexity by providing tailored estimates of different types of vehicles costs for users and enabling comparisons across multiple vehicles. However, VCCs range widely and there has been virtually no behavioral research to identify functionalities and features that determine their usefulness in engaging and educating consumers and promoting EV adoption. This research draws on a behavioral theory, systematic review of available VCCs, and user research with three VCCs to articulate design recommendations for effective VCCs.

View the NCST Project Webpage

Cover page of Characteristics and Experiences of Ride-Hailing Drivers with Plug-in Electric Vehicles

Characteristics and Experiences of Ride-Hailing Drivers with Plug-in Electric Vehicles

(2020)

Electrification of transportation network companies (TNCs; e.g., Uber and Lyft) presents a path for reduced emissions as well as potential benefits to drivers via reduced costs for fueling and vehicle maintenance. This report describes 732 TNC PEV drivers in the United States in terms of their demographic characteristics, motivations for driving PEVs on TNCs, charging patterns, and ideas to improve the experience of driving PEVs on TNCs. Greater understanding of these early adopters can inform strategies to promote further adoption. The economic benefits of fuel and maintenance savings associated with PEVs featured in drivers’ reported motivations for PEV adoption. Most BEV and PHEV drivers reported charging their PEV every day, most often at home and overnight, and most were willing to charge once or more while actively driving on TNCs. A large cluster of TNC PEV drivers reported predominately using public DC fast charging, indicating a heavy reliance on public charging infrastructure. Range limitations topped the list of reasons why PHEV drivers did not opt for a BEV, and increased range topped the list of PEV drivers’ wishes to better support PEVs on TNCs. The next most common wish was for more charger locations. The third and fourth ranked wishes were financial bonuses for trip targets and more pre-trip information, which are more exclusively under the control of TNCs.

Cover page of Exploring the Role of Cities in Electrifying Passenger Transportation

Exploring the Role of Cities in Electrifying Passenger Transportation

(2020)

Key Takeaways

1. The electrification of passenger vehicles should be one part of a city’s transportation plan. Shifting from internal combustion engine vehicles to plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) can improve urban air quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce energy consumption.

2. Recent studies show that electric vehicle awareness is low even in mature markets; cities should promote electric vehicles to residents by leveraging existing promotional campaigns.

3. Various financial and non-financial incentives can effectively encourage electric vehicle uptake, including: free, discounted, or preferential-location parking; free or reduced road and bridge tolls; and allowing electric vehicles to drive in bus or carpool lanes.

4. Several cities are restricting or planning to restrict the access that internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs) have to certain areas. If these restrictions apply to most (or all) passenger ICEVs, they can promote PEV purchase and use in cities.

5. Infrastructure development in cities should follow the same fundamental approach as that used outside of cities. The priority should be ensuring that PEV owners and prospective PEV buyers have access to charging at or near home. Workplace and public charging should be developed for those who cannot access charging at or near home.

6. Cities should be strategic in their approach, first identifying the goals they want to achieve, and then exploring what steps they can take to meet these goals. The steps available will likely differ between cities due to the different ways in which roads, parking, and any other vehicle infrastructure is governed.

Cover page of User Perceptions of Safety and Security: A Framework for a Transition to Electric-Shared-Automated Vehicles

User Perceptions of Safety and Security: A Framework for a Transition to Electric-Shared-Automated Vehicles

(2019)

The confluence of vehicle electrification, sharing and pooling, and automation alters petroleum-fueled, human-piloted, and privately-owned and operated vehicles for personal mobility in ways that raises such questions as, “Are such systems safe and secure?” and, “Who is being kept safe and secure from what (or whom)?” Answers are implied by filling in the “who” and “whom” of the second question: system, product, producer, road, and user. This white paper focuses on (actual and potential) users of systems of electrically-powered, shared, and automated vehicles (e-SAVs) as well as other road-users, e.g., pedestrians and cyclists. The role of user perceptions of safety and security are reviewed to create an initial framework to evaluate how they may affect who will initially use systems of e-SAVs for personal mobility and how safety and security will have to be addressed to foster sustained transitions. The paper will primarily be a resource for e-SAV user research, but will also inform system development, operation, and governance. This white paper offers an overarching framework grounded in the social theory of “risk society” and thus organizes past work that, typically, focuses on only one of the constituent technologies or on one dimension of safety or security, e.g., collision avoidance as a subset of road safety.

View the NCST Project Webpage

Cover page of Understanding the Early Adopters of Fuel Cell Vehicles

Understanding the Early Adopters of Fuel Cell Vehicles

(2019)

In this study, the author presents results from a survey of 906 FCV and 12,910 BEV households in California. They investigated the sociodemographic profile of FCV buyers and compare them to BEV households. FCV and BEV households are similar in many areas. There is no significant difference in household income, number of people in the household, number of vehicles in the household, gender, or level of education. However, FCV and BEV households do differ in some key areas. Compared to BEV households, FCV households are slightly older; less own their own home; more live in an apartment, condo, or townhouse; they have owned more alternative fuel vehicles previously (but fewer BEVs); they have higher VMT; and slightly longer commutes. These differences may explain why these households choose to adopt a FCV. As fewer FCV households own their home, and more live in multi-unit dwellings they may have more barriers to accessing recharging from home, which may be why they selected a FCV rather than a BEV. Their slightly longer commutes and higher VMT may mean they perceive FCVs to be a better fit with their household’s travel patterns, though their commutes are well within the range of a BEV.

View the NCST Project Webpage

Cover page of Exploring the Role of Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles in Electrifying Passenger Transportation

Exploring the Role of Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles in Electrifying Passenger Transportation

(2019)

Key Takeaways

1. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) have an important role in the electrifi cation of passenger transportation. Long-range PHEVs not only are a transitional technology. They also are an enabling technology that can encourage more consumers to adopt electric vehicles.

2. The electric range of PHEVs has a signifi cant impact on electric vehicle miles traveled. PHEVs with electric range of at least 60km (37 miles (EPA Range)) have a similar ability to electrify travel as short-range battery electric vehicles (BEVs).

3. Assuming the goal of policymakers is to increase electric vehicle miles traveled, policy support should correspond directly to electric driving range of both PHEVs and BEVs. Short-range PHEVs should receive less policy support; long-range PHEVs and BEVs should receive more policy support.

4. Consumer research in several countries shows that mainstream consumers tend to be more attracted to PHEVs than to BEVs, however many consumers are unaware of how a PHEV diff ers from a BEV. Consumers and car dealerships need to be educated about PHEVs, their benefi ts, and the importance of charging the vehicles.

Cover page of Observed Charging Rates in California

Observed Charging Rates in California

(2018)

As a complement to various modeling efforts around the country, we provide a brief snapshot of charging behavior in the California market based on self-reported data. This is intended to be a resource for researchers to help guide assumptions on the effect that charging access, range, commuting patterns, and housing type have on charging usage. The data are reported charging events over the last 7 days by 2830 survey respondents in June- October 2017 as part of the Advanced Plug-in Travel and Charging Behavior Project funded by the California Air Resources Board, the California Energy Commission, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Cover page of State of the Plug-In Electric Vehicle Market: Report II

State of the Plug-In Electric Vehicle Market: Report II

(2018)

This is the second of two reports gauging the extent to which car-owning households in California have considered purchasing plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, battery electric vehicles, and fuel cell electric vehicles collectively, zero emission vehicles. It seeks insights into how to promote greater consideration across an increased number and broader variety of households. The analysis is based on two on-line surveys of car-owning households in California. The first was conducted in February (n = 1,681) and June 2017 (n = 1,706). Analysis of the February 2017 data is presented in the companion State of the Market Report 1. Nothing in the results for the June data contradicts the general findings from February.

New results from additional analysis of the role of biological sex/social gender is based on a recommendation in the first State of the market report. The lower likeliness that female respondents have considered zero emission vehicles is solely for fuel cell electric vehicles. There appear to be some slight differences in how some explanatory variables are correlated to consideration between males and females: for females, it matters more that they live in a household that has flexible vehicle assignments; for males, it matters more whether they claim familiarity with internal combustion engine vehicles and experience with zero emission vehicles. Still, these differences are marginal and do not contravene the overall finding that across all respondents—female and male—few have paid much attention to any kind of zero emission vehicle.

Zero emission vehicle consideration is a multi-faceted concept and there are several ways in which it can be initiated: personal contact with zero emission vehicle drivers; making visible the signs of the transition, i.e., teaching people which vehicles they see on the road are zero emission vehicles, making visible not merely of specific charger locations but a growing charging network, and marketing the fact incentives exist to buy and use zero emission vehicles; and expanding the number and variety of opportunities to gain direct experience of zero emission vehicles. In doing so, consider differential possibilities to provide targeted messages at the majority of car-owning households who are not opposed to the idea of zero emission vehicles, but simply have paid them no attention.

View the NCST Project Webpage

Cover page of State of the Plug-In Electric Vehicle Market: Report I

State of the Plug-In Electric Vehicle Market: Report I

(2018)

This is the first of two reports that gauges the extent to which car-owning households in California have considered purchasing plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), battery electric vehicles (BEVs), and fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) (collectively, ZEVs). It explores which households have or have not considered ZEVs and, in those differences, seeks suggestions for how to promote greater consideration across an increased number and broader variety of households. The analysis is based on an on-line survey of car-owning households in California conducted in February 2017; the sample size was n = 1,681. The primary measure is the extent to which respondents have already considered a ZEV for their household: 4-of-5 car-owning households in California had given either no or nearly no consideration to ZEVs. Combined, less than 10 percent had given the highest two levels of consideration; active shopping or ownership. Other measures of awareness, name recognition, incentive knowledge, and driving experience were commensurately low. Relying on socio-economic and demographic variables to segment markets is unlikely to succeed. Variables describing respondents’ decision contexts and resources are important, especially whether respondents can reliably access electricity at a home parking location. General attitudes regarding air quality, the relative public health and environmental effects of electricity vs. gasoline, and experience with HEVs add further explanatory power.

Ultimately though, variables specific to ZEVs are more strongly associated with ZEV consideration: interest in ZEV technology; familiarity with ZEVs including name recognition, driving experience, and recognizing and recalling PEV charging, assessments of ZEV charging/fueling duration, driving range, purchase price, safety and reliability; and, whether people know a ZEV owner. The modeling done here is of differences between people at one point in time not of changes to people over time. Still, the suggestion is that to increase ZEV market growth it is essential to increase peoples’ awareness and knowledge, providing them with the basis for informed assessments, and thus prompt serious consideration of ZEVs for their households. It should not be expected that all the people who have so far paid no or little attention will be quickly converted to ZEV shoppers and owners. However, there seems little prospect to grow the ZEV market unless the vast majority of car-owning households in California can be engaged in the transition to electric-drive.

View the NCST Project Webpage