Publication Detail

Incentive Policies for Neighborhood Electric Vehicles


Research Report

Suggested Citation:
Lipman, Timothy E., Kenneth S. Kurani, Daniel Sperling (1994) Incentive Policies for Neighborhood Electric Vehicles. Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis, Research Report UCD-ITS-RR-94-20

Electric vehicles (EVs) have the potential to reduce the air quality and energy problems currently facing urban areas. The primary motivation for automakers to produce and sell EVs is the zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate issued by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) in 1990. This mandate requires major manufacturers to produce and deliver for sale a number of ZEVs equal to 2% of their statewide sales in 1998. This percentage rises to 5% in 2001 and eventtially reaches 10% in 2003. The northeastern states have requested permission from the U.S. EPA to adopt similar rules.

Battery-power electric drive is the only currently available zero-emission technology usable for motor vehicles. As a result, the ZEV mandate has spurred a renewed interest in EVs. The main obstacle to the introduction of EVs for use on a mass scale is the high cost and poor energy storage capacity of electrical batteries relative to gasoline.

Neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs) are EVs that are designed to be used only for short, urban trips at relatively low speeds. As such, they are better suited to the limitations of today's batteries than are full-sized EVs designed for highway travel. As supplements to a household's group of vehicles, NEVs could replace the vast majority of short, urban trips. Because these trips account for a disproportionate share of emissions, NEVs provide even greater per-kilometer emission reductions than full-sized EVs.
Prepared for CALSTART.