How much do electric drive vehicles matter to future U.S. emissions?

Samaneh Babaee, Ajay S. Nagpure, Joseph F. Decarolis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric vehicles - known collectively as electric drive vehicles (EDVs) - may represent a clean and affordable option to meet growing U.S. light duty vehicle (LDV) demand. The goal of this study is 2-fold: identify the conditions under which EDVs achieve high LDV market penetration in the U.S. and quantify the associated change in CO2, SO2, and NOX emissions through midcentury. We employ the Integrated MARKAL-EFOM System (TIMES), a bottom-up energy system model, along with a U.S. data set developed for this analysis. To characterize EDV deployment through 2050, varying assumptions related to crude oil and natural gas prices, a CO2 policy, a federal renewable portfolio standard, and vehicle battery cost were combined to form 108 different scenarios. Across these scenarios, oil prices and battery cost have the biggest effect on EDV deployment. The model results do not demonstrate a clear and consistent trend toward lower system-wide emissions as EDV deployment increases. In addition to the trade-off between lower tailpipe and higher electric sector emissions associated with plug-in vehicles, the scenarios produce system-wide emissions effects that often mask the effect of EDV deployment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1382-1390
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 4 2014


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