Estimating the Climate Change Mitigation Potential of Shifting Electric Vehicle Load

In this project, we partner with a California electric utility to evaluate the welfare impacts of an electric vehicle (EV) load management technology. Electrified transportation is a critical component of global decarbonization plans, beyond reducing greenhouse gas emissions from driving, EVs could also balance renewables by providing battery services to the grid. Managed charging, where a utility controls a customer’s EV load, is a promising technology that could realize these benefits. However, little is known about EV owners’ willingness to allow utilities to directly manipulate their charging. We will pilot this technology using a randomized evaluation, which estimates consumers’ willingness to accept a managed charging plan and measures the impact of managed charging on pollution. Shifting charging to hours of cleaner electricity generation provides direct emissions reductions. There are also indirect benefits from enabling the move towards a renewable electric grid. This technology, if effective, will serve as a model for transportation electrification at a broad scale, enabling emissions reductions where EVs are rolled out. This will generate benefits to low-income households in regions vulnerable to climate damages, as well as to households in urban areas as transportation electrification improves air quality and health outcomes. 

RFP Cycle:
Fall 2020
United States of America
  • Fiona Burlig
  • David Rapson
  • James Bushnell
  • Full project