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Influence of driving patterns on life cycle cost and emissions of hybrid and plug-in electric vehicle powertrains


  • Karabasoglu, Orkun
  • Michalek, Jeremy


We compare the potential of hybrid, extended-range plug-in hybrid, and battery electric vehicles to reduce lifetime cost and life cycle greenhouse gas emissions under various scenarios and simulated driving conditions. We find that driving conditions affect economic and environmental benefits of electrified vehicles substantially: Under the urban NYC driving cycle, hybrid and plug-in vehicles can cut life cycle emissions by 60% and reduce costs up to 20% relative to conventional vehicles (CVs). In contrast, under highway test conditions (HWFET) electrified vehicles offer marginal emissions reductions at higher costs. NYC conditions with frequent stops triple life cycle emissions and increase costs of conventional vehicles by 30%, while aggressive driving (US06) reduces the all-electric range of plug-in vehicles by up to 45% compared to milder test cycles (like HWFET). Vehicle window stickers, fuel economy standards, and life cycle studies using average lab-test vehicle efficiency estimates are therefore incomplete: (1) driver heterogeneity matters, and efforts to encourage adoption of hybrid and plug-in vehicles will have greater impact if targeted to urban drivers vs. highway drivers; and (2) electrified vehicles perform better on some drive cycles than others, so non-representative tests can bias consumer perception and regulation of alternative technologies. We discuss policy implications.

Suggested Citation

  • Karabasoglu, Orkun & Michalek, Jeremy, 2013. "Influence of driving patterns on life cycle cost and emissions of hybrid and plug-in electric vehicle powertrains," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 445-461.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:60:y:2013:i:c:p:445-461
    DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2013.03.047

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kelly, Jarod C. & MacDonald, Jason S. & Keoleian, Gregory A., 2012. "Time-dependent plug-in hybrid electric vehicle charging based on national driving patterns and demographics," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 395-405.
    2. repec:cbo:report:43576 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Congressional Budget Office, 2012. "Effects of Federal Tax Credits for the Purchase of Electric Vehicles," Reports 43576, Congressional Budget Office.
    4. Shiau, Ching-Shin Norman & Samaras, Constantine & Hauffe, Richard & Michalek, Jeremy J., 2009. "Impact of battery weight and charging patterns on the economic and environmental benefits of plug-in hybrid vehicles," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(7), pages 2653-2663, July.
    5. Peterson, Scott B. & Michalek, Jeremy J., 2013. "Cost-effectiveness of plug-in hybrid electric vehicle battery capacity and charging infrastructure investment for reducing US gasoline consumption," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 429-438.
    6. Bradley, Thomas H. & Frank, Andrew A., 2009. "Design, demonstrations and sustainability impact assessments for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 115-128, January.
    7. Traut, Elizabeth & Hendrickson, Chris & Klampfl, Erica & Liu, Yimin & Michalek, Jeremy J., 2012. "Optimal design and allocation of electrified vehicles and dedicated charging infrastructure for minimum life cycle greenhouse gas emissions and cost," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 524-534.
    8. Congressional Budget Office, 2012. "Effects of Federal Tax Credits for the Purchase of Electric Vehicles," Reports 43576, Congressional Budget Office.
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