Electric Vehicles are the only type of cars that get "cleaner" over time, as electrical power generation begins to convert slowly over time to lower-polluting energy sources. Vehicle electrification and connected charging infrastructure may establish a the foundation for a more reliable "smart grid" and a more environmentally friendly transportation system.
Assessment: Vehicle Electrification and the Smart Grid
The report recognizes that the key technologies that may ensure electric vehicles' further success in the marketplace are battery attribute improvements – improved energy densities, recharging times, and durability – that lower the cost and improve the range, efficiency and powertrain performance of the vehicle. Absent improvements in the battery, the approach the auto industry is likely to take is a transitional one, eschewing large-scale production of battery electric vehicles for hybrid-electric ones that can bridge the gap in range and performance between EVs and gasoline vehicles. Over the long term, new battery chemistries may improve range and performance of battery EVs to equal that of gasoline-powered light vehicles. In the meantime, the continued roll out of connected charging infrastructure may also improve the range and performance of all types of EVs.
New Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) regulations may significantly improve the prospects of electric vehicles, and drive the "light-weighting" or downsizing of some vehicle categories to achieve fuel economy requirements over the long run. The light-weighting of vehicles may push automakers to incorporate more active safety, or collision avoidance features. Crash avoidance, particular communications-based Vehicle-to-Vehicle systems, may be important in building the consumer confidence in smaller, lighter weight electrified vehicles and motorcycles.
This report speculates on the future impact of a vehicle electrification and the smart grid to the transportation sector in general, and specifically to a future Vehicle-to-Vehicle, Vehicle-to-Device, Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2X) core system relying on Dedicated Short Range Communications/Wireless Access for Vehicular Environments (WAVE), as contemplated in USDOT's Connected Vehicle R&D program.
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Contacts for ITS America's Technology Scan
This report is part of the Technology Scan and Assessment series. To learn more about USDOT's Connected Vehicle Research, visit USDOT ITS Joint Program Office website and read the Technology Scan and Assessment Fact Sheet.