Establishing Principles and Guiding Factors for Determining the Demand for Electric Vehicle Charging to Maximize Usefulness and Impact in Rural California

Research Team: Gil Tal, Scott Hardman (leads), Debapriya Chakraborty, and Kihyun Kwon

UC Campus(es): UC Davis

Problem Statement: Electric light-duty vehicles are a key component of California’s goal of decarbonizing the transportation sector, but electric vehicle (EV) adoption so far has been heavily concentrated in urban and suburban areas. Rural areas present a new set of challenges for EV adoption and planning in terms of population density, grid infrastructure, travel behavior, vehicle type, power needs, and the unique needs of rural communities. To maximize the usefulness and impact of a public EV charging network, it is vital to understand better how EVs will be used in rural areas and the infrastructure needs of rural EV owners.

Project Description: This two-part project will focus on identifying differences and challenges in rural areas and accounting for these differences in statewide models for EV adoption and charging demand. The researchers will investigate household vehicle ownership patterns and commute and driving patterns to identify the types of households and uses where EVs will be adopted soonest, as well as the differences in at home charging capabilities in rural areas, demand for DC Fast Charging and public charging, and the scope of the need for charging infrastructure in rural areas for tourists. Part 1 of this analysis will use existing survey data to build a baseline for EV adoption and charging needs in rural areas of California and use the findings to update the scenarios in the Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle Research Center’s interactive EV scenario tool. In Part 2, the researchers will conduct interviews with rural residents to understand their preferences and needs for charging facilities. Researchers will also model EV adoption and charging demand for each rural county in California.

Status: In Progress

Budget: $129,879