The California Air Resources Board (ARB) 2013 research plan includes a project that will comprehensively characterize the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) market, with the ultimate goal of increasing consumer purchases of ZEVs.
The proposed project will investigate the factors that influence sales of ZEVs in California (e.g., price, vehicle range, infrastructure). The project is intended to support the planned upcoming mid-term review of California’s Advanced Clean Cars program (earlier post), coordinated with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
To support that mid-term review and Executive Order B-16-2012, which establishes goals to reduce transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions by improving Californians’ access to electric vehicles and charging infrastructure, ARB has already initiated research that will quantify the electricity-powered miles driven by advanced technology vehicles; analyze the charging behavior of electric vehicle drivers; explore how new car buyers’ perceptions of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) influence their vehicle purchase decisions; develop methods for measurement of low levels of particulate matter emissions so that compliance can be reliably determined; and quantify the potential emission benefits of vehicle load reduction. Research in these areas will also be coordinated with US EPA and NHTSA.
|“Although the ZEV-owning population is currently relatively small, evaluating recent ZEV purchases will help us understand the future market.” |
—ARB FY2013-2014 Research Plan
ARB notes that while the California Energy Commission has conducted several studies in the past on consumer response to alternatively fueled vehicles and incentives, these have relied on stated preference responses to hypothetical future vehicles.
Additionally, research from the EV Project and the California Center for Sustainable Energy (administrator of the State’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Program) has been able to evaluate real-world consumer response.
However, these studies have been limited in geographic scope, vehicle types, and/or sample size. ARB’s existing research project on consumer valuation of ZEVs focuses on the general new car buyer’s perception, not only owners of ZEVs. This project would complement these existing efforts by evaluating the ZEV market in detail from a more holistic perspective and provide a measure of the representativeness of survey and interview respondents to the overall ZEV buying population.—ARB FY 2013-2014 Research Plan
In the proposed project, researchers will merge monthly ZEV registration data with census tract data in order to correlate the factors that influence ZEV sales across California using econometric methods. The study will consider:
Policy-driven factors such as purchase rebate levels and access to high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes;
Market conditions, such as gasoline and electricity prices and the attributes and diversity of vehicle offerings;
Geographic factors, such as proximity and availability of electric chargers, local built environments, and neighbors purchasing similar vehicles, and demographic characteristics; and
The attributes and diversity of vehicle offerings.
ARB will use the results to describe the current ZEV market and to refine future estimates of ZEV market potential in California.Proposed funding for the project is $265,000.
Low Carbon Fuel Standard. The research plan also proposes two projects to address several key research issues related to low carbon fuels:
The future of drop-in fuels: life cycle, costs and environmental impacts of bio-based hydrocarbon fuel pathways.
Feasibility of renewable natural gas as a large scale, low-carbon substitute.