Thursday, September 29, 2016

How Feasible are Electric-Powered Cars for Widespread Use?

Potential for widespread electrification of personal vehicle travel in the United States (Abstract, Zachary A. Needell, James McNerney, Michael T. Chang & Jessika E. Trancik, Nature Energy, Aug. 15, 2016)

Also discussed here: Today's electric vehicles can make a dent in climate change: Electric vehicles can meet drivers' needs enough to replace 90 percent of vehicles now on the road (Science Daily, Aug. 15, 2016)

And here: Low-carbon infrastructure strategies for cities (Abstract, C. A. Kennedy, N. Ibrahim & D. Hoornweg, Nature climate change, Mar.16,2014)

Today we review research into the feasibility of widespread use of e-cars for urban transportation. Results indicate that 87% of current needs can easily be met by today’s electric vehicle technology, noting the obstacles that are holding back their full acceptance can or will be overcome. The need to charge batteries can be done overnight or during the day in parking facilities. The relative short driving range can be overcome for driving long distances by utilizing alternatives such as car-sharing with conventional vehicles or by purchasing a second car for those needs. Converting 90% of today’s vehicles to electric power would reduce greenhouse gas emissions for the USA by 30% - or more if power came from utilities with lower carbon fuel use.


Key Quotes:

“the energy requirements of 87% of vehicle-days could be met by an existing, affordable electric vehicle. This percentage is markedly similar across diverse cities, even when per capita gasoline consumption differs significantly.”

Car sharing or other means to serve this small number of high-energy days could play an important role in the electrification and decarbonization of transportation”

Electrification of infrastructure technologies is effective for cities where the carbon intensity of the grid is lower than ~600  tCO2e GWh−1; whereas transportation strategies will differ between low urban density (<~6,000 persons km−2) and high urban density (>~6,000 persons km−2) cities.”

 "The adoption potential of electric vehicles is remarkably similar across cities, from dense urban areas like New York, to sprawling cities like Houston. This goes against the view that electric vehicles -- at least affordable ones, which have limited range -- only really work in dense urban centers,"

"Roughly 90 percent of the personal vehicles on the road daily could be replaced by a low-cost electric vehicle available on the market today, even if the cars can only charge overnight…this would lead to an approximately 30 percent reduction in emissions from transportation. Deeper emissions cuts would be realized if power plants decarbonize over time."

“For days on which energy consumption is higher, such as for vacations, or days when an intensive need for heating or cooling would sharply curb the EV's distance range, driving needs could be met by using a different car (in a two-car home), or by renting, or using a car-sharing service.”

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