Carnegie Mellon University

The Vehicle Electrification Group at Carnegie Mellon University was founded by Professor Jeremy Michalek and Professor Jay Whitacre in 2009 to study systems-level issues of hybrid and plug-in vehicles. Research areas include:

  1. Technology: Vehicle, battery, and electric power systems, design, control and optimization
  2. Life-cycle: economic, environmental, and energy security implications
  3. Consumer behavior: technology adoption and driver behavior
  4. Public policy: policy-relevant technical findings and policy analysis

Top Findings

Technology

  • Mobilizing grid-scale energy storage via EV trucks can improve profitability, reduce grid congestion [study]
  • Big factories won't make EV batteries cheap [study] [press release]
  • EV range, efficiency better in mild weather regions [study] [press release] [Science Magazine] [podcast]
  • EVs cheaper to charge if electricity providers control charging speed [study] [press release] [NYTimes]
  • EV batteries degrade faster in hot weather, aggressive driving [study]
  • Battery experts see incremental engineering driving near term costs down, not breakthrough technology [study]
  • Three studies optimize plug-in vehicle fleets for minimum cost & GHGs [study 1] [study 2] [study 3]

Life Cycle

Consumer Behavior

  • Uber & Lyft increase car ownership in car-dependent & slow-growth cities, displace transit in cities with high income or few children [CMU press release][iScience press release][study 1][study 2]
  • Drivers may be willing to try other fuels, pay for climate benefits [study]
  • China may adopt EVs first [study] [press release] [podcast]
  • Limited residential parking a barrier to widespread EV adoption [study] [press release]
  • Vehicle sales predictions hinge on how alternatives are represented [study]
  • Combining sales & survey data can improve understanding of vehicle purchase behavior, under the right conditions [study]
  • For automotive sales forecasts, bias isn't always bad [study]

Public Policy

  • When optimal Uber/Lyft fleets pay the cost of their emissions, they electrify more & reduce emissions by 10% (NYC) to 22% (LA) [study] [press release]
  • State zero-emissions vehicle mandates increase GHG emissions due to features in federal standards [study]
  • Problems with the rollback of federal car and light truck fuel economy standards [op-ed] [public comment]
  • US alternative fuel vehicle adoption triggers higher-emitting fleets [study] [press release]
  • Public charging infrastructure an expensive way to save gasoline [study] [press release].



Affiliations

Academic Units

Research Groups