Assessing the Total Cost of Ownership of Electric Vehicles among California Households

Research Team: Debapriya Chakraborty (lead), Gil Tal, Adam Davis, Scott Hardman, and Tim Lipman

UC Campus(es): UC Berkeley, UC Davis

Problem Statement: The Advanced Clean Cars II Rulemaking, developed by the California Air Resources Board, aims to drive the sales of new zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) to 100% by the 2035 model year. ZEVs include fuel cell electric vehicles, battery electric vehicles, and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. In California, ZEV adoption is well underway but major barriers remain. They include high vehicle purchase price, access to charging infrastructure, lack of awareness about ZEVs among a large section of the vehicle-buying population, as well as availability of ZEVs in the used vehicle market. Total cost of ownership (TCO) is a key metric for analyzing cost-competitiveness of a technology and can be used as an important tool in designing policies and incentives to offset the cost of transition to ZEVs.

Project Description: This project will use TCO metrics to identify the costs of transitioning to ZEVS to achieve the targets set for ZEV penetration by the Advanced Clean Cars II Rulemaking. The research team will map the TCO by socio-demographic characteristics, location, vehicle type, and vehicle use to identify the market segments with high transition costs, where the TCO of ZEVs is higher than that of gasoline vehicles. The analysis will also map consumer purchase behavior for new and used vehicles in California, and incorporate the cost of buying and operating both new and used ZEVs by household segments based on the characteristics and conditions listed above. This analysis should allow the researchers to understand the impact of used ZEV sales on the cost of transitioning to ZEVs, particularly in low-income communities and for users who will be highly affected by the push for rapid electrification. Lastly, the TCO analysis will identify the household segments with the highest cost of transition and the most effective ways to compensate for their negative TCO through mechanisms such as purchase, charging infrastructure, and energy incentives.

Status: In Progress

Budget: $90,000