The Future Adoption and Benefit of Electric Vehicles: A Parametric Assessment 2013-01-0502
We present a parametric analysis of electric vehicle (EV) adoption rates and the corresponding contribution to greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction in the US light-duty vehicle (LDV) fleet through 2050. The analysis is performed with a system dynamics based model of the supply-demand interactions among the fleet, its fuels, and the corresponding primary energy sources. The differentiating feature of the model is the ability to conduct global sensitivity and parametric trade-space analyses. We find that many factors impact the adoption rates of EVs. These include, in particular, policy initiatives that encourage consumers to consider lifetime ownership costs, the price of oil, battery performance, as well as the pace of technological development for all powertrains (conventional internal combustion engines included). Widespread EV adoption can have noticeable impact on petroleum consumption and GHG emissions by the LDV fleet. However, EVs alone cannot drive compliance with the most aggressive GHG emission reduction targets, even as the electricity source mix shifts away from coal and towards natural gas. Since vehicles with traditional internal combustion engines (ICEs) will comprise the majority of the LDV fleet for up to forty years, conventional vehicle efficiency improvements have the greatest potential for reductions in LDV GHG emissions over this time.