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"Comparing Fuel Economies and Costs of Advanced vs. Conventional Vehicles" chapter 4 in Sustainable Transportation Energy Pathways: A Research Summary for Decision Makers

UCD-ITS-RP-11-69

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Suggested Citation:
Burke, Andrew, Hengbing Zhao, Marshall Miller (2011) "Comparing Fuel Economies and Costs of Advanced vs. Conventional Vehicles" chapter 4 in Sustainable Transportation Energy Pathways: A Research Summary for Decision Makers. Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis, 97 - 120

A key question in comparing advanced and conventional vehicles is how much of a reduction in fuel consumption we can expect from new technologies. One approach to answering this question is to run computer simulations of the operation of advanced vehicles on different driving cycles using the best component models available and control strategies intended to maximize the driveline efficiency. In these simulations we can vary the vehicle and component characteristics to reflect projected improvements in technologies in the future.

This chapter describes simulations run for a midsize passenger car and a small/compact SUV for the time period 2015 to 2045. The baseline vehicle is a conventional vehicle marketed in 2007. Technologies we compared are  advanced, higher-efficiency engines, hybrid-electric vehicles, and electric-drive battery and fuel cell-powered vehicles. We present the results of our simulations in terms of the equivalent gasoline consumption of the various vehicle designs and the projected reductions in fuel usage, and we compare our results with those presented in previous studies at MIT, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and the National Research Council (NRC). We also compare the alternative advanced vehicle technologies in terms of their costs relative to conventional and advanced engine/transmission power trains that would be available in the same time periods.

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