IMPLICATIONS OF CURRENT HOUSEHOLD VEHICLE OWNERSHIP AND USE PATTERNS ON THE FEASIBILITY OF ELECTRIC CARS

Electric cars provide the convenience and mobility of internal combustion engine vehicles without their dependence on fossil fuels or their associated environmental problems. While range constraints continue to limit their ultimate market acceptance, recent changes in the automotive marketplace have made American consumers more energy conscious. This paper examines a recently conducted US Survey of household travel behavior. The objective of the analysis is to determine the implications of observed vehicle ownership and use patterns on the feasibility of limited performance vehicles. Several factors are identified which serve to enhance the potential market penetration of electric cars. Included here are the recent growth in multiple vehicle ownership, and significant functional specialization in household allocation of vehicle use. On the other hand, it is pointed out that the substitutability of electric cars with the majority of currently owned vehicles is not clear by virtue of either their seating capacity, luggage space, or other specialized characteristics. Moreover, it is shown that the majority of secondary household cars are purchased used, which raises questions on the cost competitiveness of electric cars. The analysis of household daily driving range confirms the finding from previous studies that currently available electric vehicle technology can serve over 95 percent of vehicle travel requirements. However, serious flaws are pointed out in the use of cross sectional travel diaries for such analyses, raising questions as to the validity of the results. Overall, it is concluded that the ultimate potential size of the electric vehicle market with current technology is about one third of U.S. household vehicles, representing approximately one fifth of total non-commercial vkt. However, more research is needed to assess whether functionally feasible electric vehicles can actually be competitive under market conditions. (Author/TRRL)

  • Availability:
  • Corporate Authors:

    Elsevier Science

    Radarweg 29, P.O. Box 211
    1043NX AE Amsterdam,   Netherlands 
  • Authors:
    • SHERMAN, L
  • Publication Date: 1980-10

Media Info

  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: p. 209-227
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00330852
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport Research Laboratory
  • Report/Paper Numbers: HS-030 989
  • Files: HSL, ITRD, TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 15 1983 12:00AM