A new working paper by a team of economists has recently been characterized as showing that electric vehicles (EVs) are worse than gasoline vehicles (for example: “Electric Cars: Not So Environmentally Friendly After All?”). On the one hand, this study reiterates what we and others have said: plug-in electric vehicles have greater air quality and global warming emissions benefits when they are charged using sources of electricity cleaner than coal, like natural gas or renewables like wind and solar. Unfortunately, however, the authors’ conclusions that EVs are worse than gasoline vehicles are based on questionable assumptions about electricity sources, air pollution sources, and vehicle characteristics that bias their overall results against electric vehicles. Read More
July 10th, 2015
June 23rd, 2015
If you’re looking for a new car, you’ve got to test drive an electric vehicle (EV). Just do it. Sure, you can read about how EVs provide instant torque, are cleaner and cheaper to drive than gas vehicles, and can fit the needs of 42 percent of American drivers, but the best way to understand the allure of an EV is to go drive one.
I recently took the 2015 Kia Soul EV home for lunch, and was amazed at how much I enjoyed driving on electricity. I’ve previously driven several EVs, but never alone, and never for an extended period of time. Having the Soul EV for a couple hours allowed me to better understand what, exactly, it would be like to own an EV – and I loved every minute of it. Read More
May 4th, 2015
Kia released its first electric vehicle late last year in California, a new take on its iconic Soul compact. This year, the Kia Soul EV is expanding its reach to Georgia, Hawaii, Oregon, Texas, and Washington. With any luck, maybe Kia will follow GM’s lead and enter the Maryland market. But with announcements for the next generation of the plug-in hybrid Volt and a 200-mile battery-electric Bolt from its competitors on the horizon, not to mention today’s low gas prices, is there a reason why Kia is so bullish now? Read More
May 4th, 2015
Today I’m attending the 2015 Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) summit in Sacramento, California, where automakers, policymakers, and technical leaders are sharing information and plans for continuing the impressive progress in getting clean ZEVs on the road. This is the third California ZEV summit and it’s amazing to see the progress that has been made in getting cleaner vehicles on the road. Read More
May 1st, 2015
What would we do if cheap energy storage became a reality? We would put an end to carbon emissions from fossil fuel. The debate would be over. The missing pieces of the puzzle would be in hand.
This is something to contemplate. Read More
New Study Shows Electric Vehicles Can Have Significant Climate and Air Quality Benefits Compared to Gasoline Cars
December 17th, 2014
A new study from the University of Minnesota shows that plug-in electric vehicles have both an air quality and global warming emissions benefit when they are charged using electricity generated from natural gas or renewable sources. However, the research finds that using electricity from coal-fired power plants in an EV is likely to have worse emissions than an average gasoline vehicle. This result isn’t surprising, but it’s also important to put in context. Many regions in the US use very little coal to generate electricity and the fraction of electricity in the US produced from coal has been dropping – meaning many EVs are delivering emissions benefits today and have the potential to deliver even more in the future.
October 1st, 2014
As we look at implementing new standards for heavy duty vehicles, it’s important to understand what technologies are out there on the horizon. To get a glimpse at who’s doing what and why, last week I attended the High-efficiency Truck Users’ Forum (HTUF) 2014 conference at Argonne National Lab. Suppliers, manufacturers, researchers, and fleet operators all got together to discuss the current technologies, those available in the foreseeable future, and the challenges and motivations for their adoption. Read More
September 18th, 2014
In August, the California legislature passed SB1275, known as the Charge Ahead California Initiative, designed to bring 1 million electric cars to California by 2023. Authored by State Senator Kevin de León, the new law extends important current incentive programs and expands access to clean transportation for lower income Californians. If signed by Governor Brown, Californians will enjoy cleaner air and cleaner cars over the next decade. Read More
September 17th, 2014
It’s National Drive Electric Week, and events are being held across the country that will showcase the popularity of electric vehicles (EVs) and highlight the many benefits of driving on electricity. Check out where events are near you, and head on over to test drive an electric vehicle, talk with EV owners, and learn more about this exciting technology that can help cut our nation’s projected oil use in half in twenty years. Looking to help out with an event? There are plenty of volunteer opportunities too. Read More
September 16th, 2014
As we embark on the 4th annual National Drive Electric Week, U.S. electric vehicle (EV) sales are approaching a quarter million, and 20 plug-in models are now available in at least some parts of the country. This represents a major advancement from the first introduction of the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf plug-in electric vehicles in model year 2011. Read More