Electric Vehicles – A New Generation of Green Transportation

Primer, Prospects and Myths

On August 5th, 2009, President Obama announced $2.4 billion in grants for the manufacturing and deployment of electric vehicles (EVs) and for the required next-generation batteries. He also stated a goal for the U.S. to have one million ‘grid-enabled’ electric vehicles on the road by 2015.1 Driving this goal for the adoption of electric vehicles were three energy-related federal objectives: a significant reduction of green-house gas emissions, the displacement of oil as the nation’s dominant transportation fuel, and improved national energy security. 

One million new electric vehicles on the road in the next five years might not sound like a lot when compared to the 250 million vehicles currently registered in the U.S. However, achieving this will require an adoption rate for EVs that is nearly twice that experienced for hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), which were first introduced in the U.S. in 2001. Unlike the earlier hybrid generation, pure electric vehicles will also require regular access points to the electric utility grid for charging.  

So, why is the federal government now focusing on EVs? How do EVs work? How will they perform? Will they really be more efficient to operate than conventional cars? And, what are the prospects for this new generation of green vehicles? These and related questions, we attempt to answer in The Primer and in The Prospects that follow. We also present a list of the top ten myths about EVs in order to set the record straight about some of the popular but inaccurate notions surrounding the advent of EVs.

I. Electric Vehicles – The Primer

Why is the U.S. encouraging electric vehicles?

The U.S. emits more greenhouse gas emissions per capita than any other nation.2 Approximately 42% of our CO2 emissions arise from the electric utility system and another 33% come from the transportation system.3 Together, these two sectors are the dominant sources of U.S. CO2 emissions. Moreover, together they account for virtually all of the growth in CO2 emissions since 1990.


Source: Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks (U.S. EPA, April 2009), Figure 2-12

The energy policy motivation behind the push for electric vehicles arises because transitioning to EVs can potentially produce valuable new efficiencies in both the transportation and utility sectors. The transportation sector becomes more efficient because electric motors convert their fuel (electricity) into mechanical energy (motion) nearly twice as efficiently as do conventional gas-driven internal combustion engines. The electric utility industry also becomes more efficient because it will enjoy new demand for electricity (from EV owners) during the overnight hours when the industry nearly always operates with substantial excess capacity. Historically, there has been little connection between these two sectors. Electric vehicles directly change that in a win-win way.

While both of these industries are driving toward reduced emissions, their capital structures lead to distinctly different timelines. The average life of capital assets in the utility sector is about 50 years, while the average life of a motor vehicle is less than 10 years.4 Thus, there is a five-times difference in the useful asset lives of the two industries. This suggests that restructuring within the transportation sector, like the adoption of electric vehicles, can be effected sooner, which will produce significant emission reductions earlier.

Transportation Emissions. There are about 250 million total passenger vehicles (passenger cars and light trucks) in the U.S.5 Each year, a range of 11 to 16 million new passenger vehicles is sold.6 This results in a turnover rate each year for passenger vehicles of somewhere between 4.4% and 6.4%. (The average useful life of a passenger vehicle is 150,000 miles.)7 The total U.S. transportation system consumes approximately 14 million barrels of oil a day ($900 billon in 2008). The 250 million passenger vehicles use the largest portion--8.6 million barrels of oil a day.8 As illustrated in the figure below, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that, “nearly 60% of the [transportation sector] emissions result from gasoline consumption for personal use.”9 Adoption of EVs will allow a large reduction in the amount of oil used for transportation.

The reduction in the amount of petroleum consumed depends on whether the electric vehicle is a pure plug-in EV with no gasoline (internal combustion) engine or a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), like General Motor’s planned Chevy Volt model.  Obviously, a pure EV will use zero petroleum while operating. A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle is projected to use 49% less petroleum than an equivalent internal combustion vehicle (ICV).10 The actual fuel savings of the PHEVs will depend on how much they are driven in their fully electric mode versus in their hybrid or recharging mode. Analysis issued in November 2009 by the Electrification Coalition concluded that, if by 2040 U.S. passenger vehicles could transition to 75% of miles traveled in electric mode, versus gasoline mode, the daily oil used in the U.S. for passenger vehicles would fall to 2 million barrels from the present 8.6 million barrels, a savings of 6.6 million barrels each day.11 This oil savings alone, which could effectively halve our current oil imports, clearly helps the U.S. achieve all three of Obama’s stated federal energy policy objectives.

Utility Emissions. It is easy to see how the EVs and PHEVs (operating in electric mode) don’t directly use any petroleum. But, how do electric vehicles reduce emissions when the electric utilities still have to use dirty coal (or other fuels) to generate the electricity that charges the electric vehicle batteries? Understanding how savings occur when factoring in the utilities’ fuel consumption requires an appreciation of the significant excess generating capacity present in nearly all electric utility operations. The U.S. Department of Energy directed the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) to study the impact of electric vehicle adoption on the electric utility industry in order to calculate an overall environmental impact from EVs and PHEVs in the U.S. 

In its 2007 report, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory concluded: “The current U.S. electrical grid has spare generation and transmission capacity at night. The current spare capacity could generate and deliver the necessary energy to power the majority of the U.S. light-duty vehicle fleet, if that fleet consisted of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. If this occurred, it would reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”12 Their analysis showed that the reduction in average fixed costs of power generation, transmission, and distribution overrode the increase in variable generation costs, and created a lower average cost of power per megawatt-hour. A high rate of electric vehicle penetration would allow significant load leveling at utilities and “improve the efficiency of the used fixed capital.”13 The PNNL went on to suggest that the benefit “would likely be enough … to offer incentive rates for PHEVs.”14

Greenhouse gas savings that will result from the adoption of electric vehicles were estimated in a joint report issued by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC) in 2007. In order to confirm that EV charging would occur during periods of excess generation capacity in the utilities, the report first analyzed the current daily driving patterns in the U.S. The chart below illustrates the hour of the day (24-hour count) when the charging of EVs can occur. Overall, they project that EV charging will occur primarily (74%) between the hours of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., thus off-peak and not creating demand for additional power plants.


Source: EPRI-NRDC Joint Report, July 2007

With the likely charging periods identified, the EPRI-NRDC analyzed a PHEV and concluded that it would reduce carbon emissions compared to a conventional ICV, even if the electricity fueling the PHEV was coming only from an old, dirty coal power plant. In this worst-case generating scenario, they project that a PHEV charged off an old coal plant would generate 325 grams of CO2 per mile of charge. This contrasts to 450 grams of CO2 per mile for a conventional ICV. In reality, the source fuel composition for current U.S. electricity is only 48% coal (and 22% natural gas, 20% nuclear, and 9% renewable (solar, wind, hydro)). Thus, PHEV projected per-car emissions fall to between 300 and 200 grams/mile when calculated against the various current sources of electricity and not just against the worst case of coal. In their best-case generating scenario, per-mile emissions could go as low as 150 grams.15 In an extreme scenario, an electric vehicle charged overnight using incoming renewable wind power, which otherwise could not be stored, the emissions footprint is closer to nil.

In terms of the aggregate impact on oil consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, the joint report concluded that if we achieve “medium” plug-in hybrid penetration (which approximates 30% of U.S. vehicle miles traveled in electric mode) by 2030, the U.S. could avoid 394 to 478 million metric tons of greenhouse gases in the year 2050 (depending on the type of electric vehicle technology employed). The study also concluded for their “medium case” that the barrels of oil per day consumed could fall by 3-4 million, leaving usage at 4.6 to 5.6 million barrels/day.16, 17 The chart below presents their findings, in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.


Source:  Environmental Assessment of Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles: Volume 1

Additionally, the International Energy Agency reported in 2009, that to meet a 440 parts per million CO2 equivalent target, the U.S. new-passenger vehicle sales in electric vehicles would need to reach 60% of new sales by 2030.18 Even at a 60% penetration rate, the estimate of total electric utility demand from EV charging remains below 10% of system capacity.

[In order to maintain context among the various environmental impact numbers, we remind readers that barrels of oil burned directly translate to tons of greenhouse gas emissions, which result in parts per million of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.]

In a separate analysis, the Electric Drive Transportation Association concluded in their 2009 “Roadmap for Energy Security” that overall (including electric generation) an HEV emits 29% less CO2 than a gas vehicle, a PHEV with a 40-mile electric range emits 49% less, and an EV emits 55% less. They also suggested that the respective direct consumption of petroleum is 29% less for an HEV, 82% less for a PHEV with 40-mile electric range, and 100% less for an EV.19

What is an electric vehicle and how does it work?

Unlike the present hybrid electric vehicle, a fully electric vehicle has no internal combustion engine and receives 100% of its ‘fuel’ (electric charge) by plugging into the electric grid. EVs will connect to a regular or a specially configured wall socket, recharging the batteries on standard household electricity. An EV uses an electric motor, a controller, and an on-board rechargeable battery pack to propel the vehicle. The accelerator pedal triggers the controller, which governs the flow of electricity from the battery pack to the motor. Like an internal combustion engine, the electric motor converts its energy source to mechanical energy to move the car. Most electric vehicles also incorporate regenerative braking technology. This allows the kinetic energy of braking to be captured and used to add-back charge to the batteries while the car is being driven. EVs have no tailpipe and no emissions.

A fully electric vehicle does not include an internal combustion engine. Current versions of standard hybrids (HEVs), such as the Toyota Prius, incorporate a modestly sized internal combustion engine into the car’s power generation.  Standard hybrids do not plug-in to the electric grid to charge. Instead, they incorporate battery technology and regenerative breaking to generate their electric charge. The internal combustion engine of a standard hybrid provides the majority of the power to propel the vehicle. But, these engines do shut down when the car is idling and often when the car is coasting or going downhill, saving energy and reducing emissions.

Plug-in hybrids, by comparison, incorporate more batteries than a standard hybrid, but less than an electric vehicle. They can plug-in like an EV, though generally their internal combustion engine would still be smaller than in an HEV since the engine is used more to recharge the batteries (in order to extend the range) than to propel the car, as it would in the standard hybrid or conventional ICV.

Hybrid sales have been a relative success story for the Japanese auto manufacturers who progressively adopted hybrids into their product lines early on. In 2008, three percent of U.S. auto sales were hybrids, resulting in a total of 280,000 units sold. The U.S. is the largest market for hybrids with more than one million HEVs now on the road. The U.S. represents more than half of the total worldwide HEV units. In the U.S., the majority of HEV sales have been on the west coast with the top eight cities all being on the west coast.   At the top in terms of sales penetration is been Portland, Oregon, where hybrid cars represent 1.1% of registrations.20

How does the EV battery technology work? 

The primary key to an electric vehicle’s performance is the battery technology. The popular Toyota Prius hybrid uses nickel metal hydride (Ni M H) battery chemistry. The new EVs and PHEVs on the horizon will largely use various permutations of Lithium Ion (Li-ion) battery chemistries. Large-scale, high-voltage lithium ion batteries have not existed prior to the demand from electric vehicle manufacturers. However, smaller scale lithium ion batteries are already commonly used in cell phones and laptops. A number of Asian-based suppliers have developed advanced Li-ion manufacturing expertise.

The battery itself is made up of a number of cells, which increase as the electric capacity of the battery increases. The batteries are then combined into a “battery pack” that is managed by custom integrated circuits and software. The battery packs are heavy and this drives a coincident need for the manufacturers to incorporate lighter materials in the construction of the vehicle body and chassis.

The power capacity of a battery is often expressed in terms of kilowatt-hours (kWh). A kilowatt is an instantaneous measure of power and thus the effective measure is how many hours can a kilowatt of power be generated. A kWh is the common unit of consumption that electric utilities use in order to bill their customers.

New EV battery capacity ranges from 25 kWh (for the Nissan Leaf) to as high as 42 kWh (for the Tesla S). As the battery pack gets larger it drives up both the possible single-charge driving range and the cost. The expected single-charge driving ranges are 100 miles for the Leaf and 160 miles for the Tesla S. Some auto manufacturers will offer battery upgrade packages that extend the range, e.g. the Tesla S will have a 230-mile and a 300-mile battery up-grade option. The Chevy Volt, which is a plug-in hybrid with a16kWh battery pack, will have an initial 40-mile fully electric range, and then a small internal combustion engine will extend that range to a total of 300 miles.


Chevy Volt Battery
Source: http://www.autonewscast.com/2009/01/12/

Lithium-ion battery packs today are expensive and cost approximately $900 a kWh. However, the cost curve for Li-ion batteries is expected to come down with scale production and with each subsequent generation of Li-ion technology. GM has suggested they expect a 50% savings in size and cost by their 3rd generation battery pack for the Volt. Nissan has suggested they will be able to double the range on a single charge by 2015 at the same cost, also effectively halving the cost.

Li-ion batteries are expected to have a total useful life that extends beyond use in an EV. We expect that manufacturers will recommend replacement by the time the batteries can only carry 75% of their original charge. In the U.S., current thinking is that a secondary or resale market will develop for used EV batteries. When their useful life in the vehicle passes, battery packs could be sold to utilities or others for warehousing/storage of renewable energy. Present estimates are that it will take 10 years of use in a vehicle before the batteries drop to only 75% of their original charge and need replacement. Ultimately the lithium in the battery will itself need to be recycled. In Europe, the German Ministry for the Environment recently funded a consortium of 12 companies for this purpose. The consortium intends to develop a cradle to grave recycling program for lithium based electric vehicle batteries.

What are the battery charging options?   

Recently, seven manufacturers (Chrysler, Ford, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mercedes and Tesla) endorsed a charging technology standard issued the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAEJ1772). This will allow for the proliferation of a single standard and, hopefully, ubiquitous charging technology. The time to fully charge an EV’s battery pack will depend on the number of batteries and the voltage rate used to do the charging. Charging will be possible at U.S. standard household line voltage of 110 volts (the slowest option), as well as at 220 volts (a faster option) and still higher voltages.

We expect the primary charging location for most individual users will be in the home garage, overnight. EV owners can have a licensed electrician install a 220 V plug (similar to the one used for electric dryers) in a convenient location in the garage for an estimated cost of $500-$750.21 Most owners will be able to complete a charge overnight that will be good for the next day’s driving. 

To extend driving range and flexibility, a number of government and commercial entities are developing plans for remote charging stations. When an EV needs to be charged away from home, charging units should be available around major cities in parking lots at places of employment and at retail locations such as stores, shopping malls, restaurants, banks and coffee shops. The estimated cost to install a charging station is $3,000 - $7,000. A critical factor here will be time it takes to fully charge a vehicle. The Chevy Volt is expected to charge in 8 hours on a standard wall plug and in 3 hours on the 220-volt “dryer” outlet. A commercial charging station would likely offer a “fast charge” solution that fully charges in less than three hours. One Chinese battery manufacturer has stated that its EV battery will be able to recharge to 80% in 15 minutes. 

One company, Better Place, is pursuing a battery-swap arrangement as an alternative approach to potentially long recharging times. The company plans to offer a battery lease where by one can swap out for a fresh battery while traveling.

Actual deployment of stationary solar EV charging is now being pursued by a number of governmental and commercial entities. New York City’s first solar EV charging station charges a battery-powered mini E (an electric version of the Mini Cooper) in 3 hours using 5.6 kW photovoltaic (PV) panels.  

Stationary solar EV charging is an idea that is still in its early stages, but one with great merit, obviously.  New York City’s first solar EV charging station charges a battery powered mini E (an electric version of the Mini Cooper) in 3 hours using 5.6 kW photovoltaic panels. At Dell’s Texas headquarters a “solar grove” sits above 56 spaces of the employee parking lot and incorporates two solar-to-EV charging stations and 11 “solar trees” that produce 131 kWh.  Rabobank, at its Santa Maria, California branch, has installed a photovoltaic system on their roof to defray their electricity costs and to offer free EV charging.  In the future, you can imagine a home system where rooftop solar panels or perhaps small wind turbines, in conjunction with stationary storage batteries, can power nighttime EV charging without a connection to the electric utility.


Dell headquarters parking lot with EV charging stations
Source:  Envisionsolar.com/project-portfolio/parksolar/

What is the driving range of an EV?

A typical gasoline engine automobile can travel 300 miles between gas fill-ups. But the average number of miles Americans drive per day is only 40, and 90% of all U.S. vehicle trips are less than 30 miles. Not withstanding this reality, consumer acceptance of the EV driving range will be an important factor in the initial adoption rate for EVs. Nissan expects its Leaf to have a range of 100 miles. The Tesla Model S will come standard with enough batteries for a 160-mile range, and a battery upgrade option will increase the range to 300 miles. The GM Volt, which is a plug-in hybrid, rather than pure EV like the Leaf and Model S, has an expected range of 300 miles. To help owners manage the risk of driving beyond the charge range, EVs will have on-board systems that will display the driving radius on the current state of charge, and calculate available “fuel” for specific round-trip destinations. Software programs for EV navigation systems could identify the nearest charging stations and availability. For example, GM plans to offer a smart phone application with the Volt. The application will allow remote monitoring of the vehicle’s charging status on Blackberry or iPhone.


Prototype: Tesla Model S
Photo: Jim Motavali for the New York Times
Source: NY Times, April 30, 2009

How will EVs perform in terms of acceleration and braking?

Many consumers are not aware that electric motors provide significantly better acceleration than do internal combustion engines. Unlike IC engines, EV motors deliver 100% of their torque at zero rpm, which allows a far faster and smoother acceleration. Moreover, this acceleration occurs far more quietly than with an IC engine. In the opposite direction, braking in an EV or hybrid is not any different than with a conventional ICV, even though the hybrid or EV uses regenerative braking.

It’s worth mentioning here that EVs are not entirely new to the U.S. In 1996, GM introduced the EV1, a fully electric vehicle that it offered in California in response to manufacturer emission standards imposed by the California Air Resources Board. A documentary, Who Killed the Electric Car? reports on the acceptance, performance and termination of this earlier electric vehicle. Of particular note here is that there are multiple interviews in the film where drivers report on the superior acceleration and handling performance of the EV1.

What will EVs cost to purchase?

Two main factors distinguish the manufacturing cost of an EV from that of a conventional ICV. First, the cost of the lithium-ion battery packs is significant and will add substantially to the final cost. Depending on whether the vehicle is an EV, or a PHEV, there will be offsetting savings for no engine, or a downsized one. In addition, for a pure EV, many other conventional engine components are not required, e.g. mufflers, catalytic converters, etc. 

Second, as a new product line, initial production runs will lack unit volumes that permit scale economics. But, with the help of the U.S. federal tax credit of $7,500 per car22 (and government loans to manufacturers and suppliers during this investment phase), manufacturers are hoping to quickly reach production volumes necessary to achieve scale economics, which will allow manufacturing costs to comparable to ICV models. Generally, per manufacturing facility, a minimum 100,000 units annually is a target threshold to achieve scale economics in the auto industry.

It is too early to predict where all of the manufacturers will price their new EV lines. The one model currently available for sale is the luxury high-end Tesla Roadster, which is two-seater, 0 to 60 in less than 4 seconds, sitting on a Lotus Elise fiber carbon frame. The Roadster’s list price of $101,500 is not representative of what is expected more generally across the EV models. However, as was seen with the introduction of the Toyota Prius and other manufacturer’s early hybrids, we anticipate that the list prices will be at least a modest premium over the comparable ICVs. http://www.teslamotors.com/models/index.php

What will it cost per mile to drive an EV?

Using a broad average, gasoline costs about 12 cents a mile, while the electricity for EVs is expected to cost about 2 cents per mile. The unit cost of gasoline and of electricity that consumers actually pay in their local markets will be the key variables.

Currently, the average rate for residential electricity nationwide is about 11 cents per kWh, but it ranges from $.06 to $.24/kWh. Residential electricity is generally charged at a single fixed rate irrespective of when the power is consumed (peak or off-peak), even though ‘smart meters’ are now available that allow utilities to effect real-time pricing.   

If utilities, either voluntarily or under regulatory pressure, start to offer real-time pricing residentially, the payback periods for electric vehicles could drop by half. The cost of electricity equivalent to a gallon of gas is thought to be between $.60 and $1.00 during peak hours, but closer to $.20 in the middle of the night. We understand that one utility in the Bay Area (California), does offer a tariff that allows for recharging electric vehicles for 5 cents a kWh between midnight and 7a.m. This is about half the national rate and about one-third the local California rate.

To illustrate the potential operating efficiencies of EVs versus ICVs, we’ve included a sensitivity analysis in the following two tables. Both tables assume 14,000 miles/year are driven. The top table assumes gasoline at $2.80/gallon and the bottom table assumes $3.80/gallon. The models included are: the higher-end Tesla S (Tesla’s sedan not its roadster), the mid-point Nissan leaf and the low-end Chevy Volt. For each model three tariff structures for the electricity costs are shown. On all three models we use the same electricity mileage (.25 kWh/mile). We recognize that Tesla has announced .18 kWh/mile for its Roadster model. However, until the various manufacturers release their electric mileage numbers for each model, we’ve chosen to use the probable and more conservative electric mileage rate of .25kWh/mile.

The sensitivity tables show that with gasoline at $2.8/gallon, the range of operating savings to drive an EV compared to an ICV may run from about $500 to about $1,400 each year. However, as gasoline rises these prospective savings start to increase proportionately. At $3.80/gallon, the savings could run from about $1,000 to as much as about $2,000 annually. 

What will it cost to repair and maintain an EV?

Electric vehicles are simpler in both their construction and operation. With 70% fewer moving parts, EVs are expected to require far fewer repairs. For example, there is no internal combustion engine, transmission, ignition, gas tank, oil filter, or muffler on an EV. There also won’t be any oil and filter changes every 3,000 to 10,000 miles. And, there be no required emissions testing! We estimate the average annual maintenance costs of a conventional U.S. passenger vehicle (out of warranty) are about $540 per year. Rand Corp has estimated that EV repair and maintenance costs will run only 65-70% of conventional car costs.23 These projected repair and maintenance savings would be about $189 each year. 

Incidentally, we also recognize that the low repair dynamic of EVs could serve as a disincentive for incumbent auto manufacturers to fully adopt the new generation of EVs, given that their dealers’ service and parts businesses can account for half of a dealer’s profits.24 So, it is not surprising the field of prospective EV manufacturers is being led by Tesla, a new entrant.

What is the total cost of ownership for an EV?

Too many variables remain open (list price, actual service costs and applicable utility rates) to provide highly confident projections of the total costs of owning an EV. Still, based on the above operating cost sensitivity tables, the projected savings for repair and maintenance costs and the presumed $7,500 federal incentive, we can calculate a hypothetical adjustment to the (as yet unknown) list price of an EV in order to juxtapose it against the list price for a comparable ICV. Four adjustments need to be made to EV’s list price: first, we deduct the presumed $7,500 credit, second we subtract the operating savings for each year of ownership (from the above tables), third we subtract the estimated lower cost of repair and maintenance for the EV also for each year of ownership outside of warranty, and fourth we need to add back to the price of the vehicle an estimate for the installation of a 220V charging line.

For our hypothetical adjustment to the EV’s list price we assume that a Nissan Leaf is bought and owned for five years. During the period of ownership, the prevailing cost of oil is $3.80/gallon and the cost of charging electricity is $.11/kWh. The car is driven 14,000 per year (the U.S. average), the savings in repairs and maintenance for two year out of warranty work on the EV as compared to an amounts to $189 for each year and the installation cost for the charging line is $625 (a one-time charge). 


Prototype: Nissan Leaf
­­Source:  www.Greenlaunches.com/transport

Over the five years of ownership, the Leaf would save $6,942 (5 x $1388) in relative fuel cost over five years of driving and $378 (2 x $189) in relative repair costs. Together, the three sources of savings, which total a hypothetical $14,820 ($7,500 federal incentive + $6,942 operating savings + $378 repair savings), and the one-time offset for line installation of $625 results in a net adjustment of $14,195. For comparison purposes, this approximately $14,200 adjustment can be subtracted from the retail price of the EV in order to compare it to the retail price of a comparable ICV. 

In an early projection of total cost of ownership, the Electrification Coalition, in their Nov 2009 report, concluded that PHEVs would already offer a lower total cost of ownership. They state “based on existing government incentives ($7,500 tax credit) PHEVs should already have a lower total cost of ownership than IC engine vehicles. By 2013, total costs of ownership for pure EVs should also be lower than conventional vehicles. By 2020, both EVs and PHEVs offer a value proposition for consumers even without tax credits, and falling battery costs make EVs the best value for most drivers.”25

A final benefit of EV ownership is available to many drivers in certain high traffic areas, where hybrids and EVs are afforded access to the HOV (high occupancy vehicle) lanes on highways. One survey reported that nine states currently permit hybrids in HOV lanes.26 These states are: California, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Tennessee, Utah, and Virginia. In California and others of the states it is necessary to register the HEV (or EV) first in order to obtain an HOV sticker. California has now issued 85,000 of HOV stickers to energy-efficient vehicles.


1 U.S. Dept of Energy Press Release Aug 5, 2009.

2 IEA (International Energy Agency), World Energy Outlook 2008, suggests U.S. emissions are 26 metric tons per capita.

3 “Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2007” Executive Summary, pp 9; U.S. EPA, Epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/downloads09/GHG2007-ES-508.pdf

4 “Electrification Roadmap” Nov 2009, p 35, Sponsored by The Electrification Coalition, Washington, DC, ElectrificationCoalition.org.

5 U.S. Department of Energy, http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/kids/energy.cfm.

6 2007 16.1 million units, 2008 13.2 million units, 2009 10 million units

7 Transportation Energy Data Book 2008, table 3.10 “Car and Light Truck Survivability Rates and Lifetime Miles”.

8 ibid., p 12.

9 “Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2007”, op. cit.,  p 8.

10 “Road Map for Energy Security” The Electric Drive Transportation Association, p 2. November 2009.

11 “Electrification Roadmap”, op. cit., p11.

12 “Impacts Assessment of Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles on Electric Utilities and Regional U.S. Power Grids: Part 2: Economic Assessment” November, 2007, p 1, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory operated for the U.S. Dept of Energy.

13 ibid., p 13.

14 ibid., p 14.

15 EPRI, op.cit.

16 Environmental Assessment of Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles: Volume 1: Nationwide Greenhouse Gas Emissions. EPRI, Palo Alto, CA: 2007. 1015325

17 The oil consumption savings estimated by the NRDC & the EPRI is more conservative than the one calculated by the Electrification Coalition (see above), which assumed pure EV use and not PHEV use as in the joint NRDC & EPRI analysis.  Since 2007, most of the auto manufacturers have begun development plans for fully electric cars.  If full electric mode were to be incorporated, the greenhouse gas reduction would clearly be markedly greater.

18 IEA, “How the Energy Sector Can Deliver On a Climate Agreement in Copenhagen,” Special early excerpt of the World Energy outlook 2009 for the Bangkok UNFCCC meting (October 2009).

19 EDTA, op. cit., p 2.

20 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hybrid_electric_vehicle

21 “Driving Emissions to Zero” 2002 Rand Corporation Study pp 67-68, www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/MR1578

22 On Oct 3, 2008 The economic rescue/bailout bill included a tax credit for plug-in vehicles sold in 2009-2014. The credit allows for $2500 minimum and $7500 maximum credit for passenger cars. To attain the maximum credit the battery needs to be at least 16kWh, to attain any credit the battery needs to be at least 4 kWh. You attain an additional $417 credit for each kWh over the base 4 kWh. There is a gradual phase-out of the credit after 250,000 units have been sold.

23 Rand, op.cit., p 62.

24 “Average Dealership Profile,” AutoExec Magazine, May 2005, p 43.

25 “Electrification Roadmap”, op. cit., p 16.

26 10 facts: Hybrids in HOV lanes" 6/17/08, Todd Kaho

 
 
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