Electric vehicles are an emerging technology with significant potential for reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Yet strategies to minimize carbon dioxide emissions by strategically charging during different times of day have not been rigorously explored. To identify possibilities for minimizing emissions from plug-in electric vehicle use, daily optimized charging strategies over each electricity reliability region of the United States are explored. Optimized schedules of plug-in electric vehicle charging for standard and vehicle-to-grid use were compared with pre-timed charging schedules to characterize the potential for carbon dioxide emission reductions across charging characteristics, regional driving, and marginal energy generation trends. It was found that optimized charging can reduce carbon dioxide emissions over pre-timed charging by as much as 31% for standard use and 59% for vehicle-to-grid use. However, some scenarios of vehicle-to-grid participation were found to increase carbon dioxide emissions by up to 396 g carbon dioxide per mile by displacing stored energy from more carbon-intense energy generation periods. Results also indicate that plug-in electric vehicle charging emissions can vary widely for a given energy efficiency rating. Current energy efficiency ratings may lead to incorrect assumptions of plug-in electric vehicles emissions compared to conventional gasoline vehicles due to varying regional and temporal emissions. To coincide with the push for lower greenhouse gas emissions from transportation, charging times for plug-in electric vehicles should target periods where charging promotes carbon dioxide reductions, and electric vehicle energy efficiency ratings should be reconsidered in order to promote sustainable plug-in electric vehicle use moving forward.
- Plug-in electric vehicle
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