The IEE, which stands for Innovation, Electricity, and Efficiency, is an institute of The Edison Foundation. According to its white paper, the transportation segment is the second largest user of energy here in the U.S., right behind the industry segment. Within transportation, light duty vehicles (LDV), which include cars and light duty pickup trucks, devour almost 60 percent of available energy within the segment, 99 percent of which is provided by fossil fuels, i.e., gasoline. The IEE expects the number of LDVs to grow by over 25 million vehicles by 2035, a potentially frightening situation since the segment contributes more than 30 percent of carbon emissions in the country.
The institute sees electrification of LDVs rising as more Americans are looking to save on fuel and protect the environment.
States Lisa Wood, executive director and vice president of the IEE, “Opportunities for electrification in the transportation sector are large and advanced batteries are a major driver. Electric transportation makes economic and environmental sense. Approximately 90,000 Americans have said goodbye to the pump and hello to the plug due to battery advancements and a growing selection of car models that has made driving an EV more accessible than ever before. This number will only grow.”
Several factors contribute to this projected increase in EVs. One is the greater availability of such vehicles, which include the Nissan Leaf, Ford Focus EV, Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Honda Fit EV, Smart Fortwo Electric Drive, and the recent Chevrolet Spark EV. Battery and charging technology are also continuing to advance with greater range and shorter recharge times.
The increase in electric LDVs will have a dramatic impact in carbon emissions. The IEE white paper describe three scenarios, based on the number of EVs on the road by 2035. In the Low scenario, where EVs compose two percent of LDVs by 2035, carbon emissions will drop between 9 to 22 million metric tons. Under Medium, where EVs compromise 10 percent of the vehicles on the road, this figure forecasts the removal of 41 to 94 million metric tons out of the atmosphere. Finally, EVs make up 12 percent of the LDVs in the High scenario, which sees carbon emissions plummeting between 51 to 116 million metric tons.
A copy of the white paper can be found here. The white paper also discuss the increase in electricity used by EVs in these scenarios and how rising gas prices affect the calculations.