A very interesting research hub focused on electric and hybrid vehicles is the Plug-in Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Research Center of the Institute of Transportation Studies at University of California, Davis.
Consumer research, behavioral research – PEV drivers, electrical grid and infrastructure and research on consumer energy interface are all areas under the center’s umbrella.
One tool that caught our eye is the web-based UC Davis EV Explorer. The website allows users to determine if an EV is right for them based on annual vehicle energy cost. Four vehicles (gasoline-powered or plug-in) can be compared a one time and the user can select from a list of very customizable inputs ranging from detailed locations for frequent or recurring travel, frequency of travel, gasoline price, price of electricity, duration of charging and more. The tool was designed a few years ago for California and the website is part of California Energy Commission, but it can be used anywhere in the world where the cars listed in the US fueleconomy.gov database or similar cars are available. EV.THRIVE tried it for a past location and commute to work scenario and the results were quite surprising.
For customers selecting a vehicle based on annual vehicle energy cost, a stop on this website can lead to straight answers. If minimizing the climate impact of a vehicle is important, the MIT Carboncounter 2021, presented here earlier this month, adds one more layer of information to decision making processes.