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Research Projects

STATUS: In Progress YEAR: 2019 TOPIC AREA: Sustainability, energy, and health Transportation planning, policy, and finance CENTER: PSR

The Effectiveness of Alternative Policy Designs on Electric Vehicle Adoption: Purchase Rebates, Guaranteed Financing and Per-eVMT incentives

Project Summary

Funding source: Caltrans
Funding amount: $107,549
Contract number: 65A0674 TO 0
Start and end dates: 4/15/2020 to 4/15/2021

Project description
Our research will undertake the first side-by-side comparison of the realistic performance of three commonly proposed or currently-implemented policies specifically designed to increase the adoption of clean vehicles: i) vehicle purchase rebates, ii) guaranteed low-interest financing, and iii) incentives that lower costs of electric vehicles miles traveled (e-VMT). For each of these policies, we will measure drivers' propensity to purchase new or used hybrids, PEVs and BEVs varies at different incentive levels. Rather than focusing on wealthy new car buyers, which most researchers have done, we will undertake this comparative policy analysis using a representative survey sample of moderate and low-income Californians collected in 2018, as this sub-population will likely need more substantial support to access clean vehicles.

We draw on survey data that was originally conducted with the board goal of identifying barriers to clean vehicle adoption by moderate and low-income households. Within the survey we deployed a series of conjoint choice exercises, which now will enable us to estimate a random utility model for vehicle attributes that include the vehicle purchase price, the availability of financing, and the cost per mile of travel. We can then use this estimated model to forecast how changes in policies that affect a representative driver's utility will also affect their propensity to purchase clean vehicles. With an understanding of how many additional clean vehicles each policy will attain at different incentive levels, we can than ask: When there is a fixed budget for public subsidies, which of these three policies maximizes the number of additional clean vehicles purchased? We will also explore answers to the following questions: How do household characteristics such as income, ethnicity, and geography attenuate the propensity to purchase associated with these rebate, loan and e-VMT incentive programs? 


Gregory Pierce
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Urban Planning
3250 Public Affairs Building - Box 951656
Los Angeles, CA 90095
United States
[email protected]