Publication Detail

Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle GHG Impacts in California: Integrating Consumer-Informed Recharge Profiles with an Electricity-Dispatch Model

UCD-ITS-RP-11-04

Reprint

Sustainable Transportation Energy Pathways (STEPS), Plug-In Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Research Center

Suggested Citation:
Axsen, Jonn, Kenneth S. Kurani, Ryan W. McCarthy, Christopher Yang (2011) Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle GHG Impacts in California: Integrating Consumer-Informed Recharge Profiles with an Electricity-Dispatch Model. Energy Policy 39 (3), 1617 - 1629

This paper explores how Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles (PHEVs) may reduce source-to-wheel Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions from passenger vehicles. The two primary advances are the incorporation of (1) explicit measures of consumer interest in and potential use of different types of PHEVs and (2) a model of the California electricity grid capable of differentiating hourly and seasonal GHG emissions by generation source. We construct PHEV emissions scenarios to address inherent relationships between vehicle design, driving and recharging behaviors, seasonal and time-of-day variation in GHG-intensity of electricity, and total GHG emissions. A sample of 877 California new vehicle buyers provide data on driving, time of day recharge access, and PHEV design interests. The elicited data differ substantially from the assumptions used in previous analyses. We construct electricity demand profiles scaled to one million PHEVs and input them into an hourly California electricity supply model to simulate GHG emissions. Compared to conventional vehicles, consumer-designed PHEVs cut marginal (incremental) GHG emissions by more than one-third in current California energy scenarios and by one-quarter in future energy scenarios—reductions similar to those simulated for all-electric PHEV designs. Across the emissions scenarios, long-term GHG reductions depends on reducing the carbon intensity of the grid.

Keywords: plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, consumer behavior, greenhouse gas emissions