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465530-1 Report Abstract

Electric Vehicle Applications for Urban Travelers: Technology, Cost, and the Market

Lila Paige Warren and Mark A. Euritt, University of Texas at Austin, March 1996, 86 pp. (465530-1)

This report examines the viability of the electric vehicle (EV) as a partial solution to Texas’ air quality problems. According to the 1990 Federal Clean Air Act, mobile source pollution is the primary contributor to poor air quality in the United States. Texas is among the top 10 emitting states for several air pollutants. In Texas, approximately 71 percent of the total local travel occurs in the Texas cities with populations over 200,000. Such urban areas are clearly most in need of air quality improvement. The technology of the EV makes it most suitable for urban travel. This report investigates whether this apparent match between need and technology is viable in market terms. Chapter One describes the air quality, energy security, and global warming issues that have prompted research into alternative fuels such as the EV, and describes the legislative initiatives that have provided funding for this research. Chapter Two examines the current state of EV technology. Chapter Three provides a life-cycle cost analysis of the EV. In particular, this chapter assesses the economic costs of such externalities as air pollution, and compares the cost of gas vehicles and EVs if such externalities are taken into account. Chapter Four analyzes the potential market for EVs. This chapter surveys current research on the market for EVs, and then introduces the Center for Transportation Research Interactive Web Survey, designed by the author. This survey combines some of the most promising features of previous EV market research–especially research that serves to educate the public and air quality as well as gathering information about vehicle use–in a low-cost, widely-distributable format. The report concludes by examining the data from this survey in light of EV technology, cost and potential marketability.

Keywords: Battery-Powered Vehicle, Electric Vehicle, Zero Emission Vehicle, Alternative Transportation Fuels, Alternative Fueled Vehicle

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Reference Report #465530-1