When Does Electrifying Shared Mobility Make Economic Sense?

The expansion of electric vehicle (EV) usage in the United States is happening in many of the urban areas where shared mobility is also growing. The increased adoption of EVs is a result of local policy, financial incentives, infrastructural changes, and public awareness initiatives. But although improved battery technology continues to lower EV prices and increase their mileage, EVs remain far more expensive than conventional vehicles. However, the combined use of shared-vehicles and EVs offers a fair chance for accelerating the benefits of both. Because of the high annual miles-of-travel of shared-fleet vehicles, drivers of shared-vehicle have a bigger opportunity for energy savings from EVs than private drivers have. This would also lower per-mile operating costs, and shorten cost recovery periods. Although shared-vehicles are linked to traffic congestion and lower use of transit, their electrification would eliminate their emissions. Optimism about such convergence has led to policy investigation into new regulations to encourage adoption of zero-emission vehicles. This report estimates a timetable for cost-effective electrification of shared-vehicle fleets in U.S. cities, focusing on ride-hailing. The authors develop a total cost of operation (TCO) measurement for conventional vehicles and EVs in eight cities. Regional variations in incentives, taxes, and energy costs are incorporated and vehicle technology improvements are applied, to estimate changes in EV prices and operating costs through 2025. The authors also assess the importance of home charging on EV operating costs, and track the shift in operating costs and the associated cost recovery period for EVs relative to conventional vehicles. The report closes with four main conclusions: based on economic factors, ride-hailing vehicles are ready for electrification; even without pricing incentives, electric vehicles will be the most economically attractive technology for ride-hailing operations in 2023–2025; access to affordable charging will be crucial to enabling the economic benefits of electric ride-hailing; electrification of ride-hailing fleets is unlikely to occur on its own, but will require new policy and ride-hailing company initiatives.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Appendices; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 15p
  • Serial:
    • Working Paper
    • Issue Number: 2019-01
    • Publisher: International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT)

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01700352
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Feb 5 2019 2:27PM