Energy

Electric vehicles are a drain on the UK electricity grid


ev charging point, Merchant City 02 flickr photo by byronv2 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC) license

Today, British Transport Minister John Hayes issued a statement that electric vehicles in the UK are taxing the electicty grid but trails of demand responsive smart grid technology should help ease the demand for power. He remarked, "We know the demand for electric vehicles places the national grid under pressure. It’s critically important – we are working on this. It’s particularly important that we charge smart, so we flex demand and take advantage of spare capacity."

In order to estimate demand, you need models for electric vehicle charging behavior which take into account facotrs like range anxeity and trip patterns. Using game theory, it might be possible to predict how different factors might affect behavior. Human behavior is only one side of the equation, energy storage and transmission technology is the other. Work in this area focuses on optimization with smart grids through cooperation. Others are developing genetic algorithms to manage the load. 

 

California's new ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets.


flickr photo shared by Malingering under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC-ND ) license

Yesterday California Governor Jerry Brown issued an executive order establishing the state's greenhouse gas reduction target 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 (Executive Oder B-30-15).  This new executive order is another step reducing California's greenhouse gas emissions after the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32) which set reduction targets to 1990 levels by 2020. LBNL models predict we're on target to meet the 2020 goals but will need more effort ot meet the ultimate 2050 goals. 

Research in this area demonstrates that to achieve 80% greenhouse gas reductions by 2050 that moving to low-carbon and renewable energy will be important, but also investment in carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology. Integrated climate protection into planning and land use policies, such as smart growth planning, will also help California meet its targets. Much of the technological innovations to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 hinges on the role of electricity to move away from carbon based fuels across economic sectors. And yes, high-speed rail could also be part of the solution

Oregon's New Opt-In Mileage Tax Pilot

Interstate 5 from the Portland Aerial Tram

This week Oregon DOT (ODOT) announced the public trial of a proposed new mileage tax. They're calling it a Road Usage Charge Program and it will beging July1, 2015. They are looking for 5,000 volunteer drivers to launch the program, which will be trailblazing user-based fees like this. 

New funding structures for transportation are needed as it's not clear how much longer the federal gas tax will last, which is especially problematic given the depletion of the Highway Trust Fund. To cover the challenging gap between current funding and what is needed to maintaining the current U.S. transportation system, new finding models are emerging. Road pricing, often implemented as tolling, is a very common method. Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) based taxes are another user-based method which is being discussed nationally, though Oregon is the first state to take steps to implement such a tax. Critics of these methods argue that such taxes penalize fuel efficient vehicles, or that they are regressive taxes and social inequities must be accounted for. The equity question is currently a very active research topic.  

This past spring, a mileage tax for California drivers was introduced in the state Senate. SB-1077 was voted by the Senate and Assembly, and approved Governor Jerry Brown in September. 

Electric Vehicles: Coast to coast, but will they impact emissions?

This week was a milestone in electric vehicle adoption and infrastructure in the US - a father-daughter team completed the first crosscountry roadtrip in a Tesla and it cost them $0 to recharge. What a bargain! Tesla Motors plans to expand their recharching network, so that future continental treks may take a more direct route.  

So as electric vehicles are slowly becoming more mainstream, the question is what impact will they have on greenhouse gas emissions? A paper recently presented at the TRB Annual Meeting looks at regional impacts in California.  Another recent study from NC State questions the impact electric vehicles have on emissions at all. Samaneh Babaee, Ajay S. Nagpure, and Joseph F. DeCarolis ask, "How Much Do Electric Drive Vehicles Matter to Future U.S. Emissions?". Their answer: probably not much given the emissions produced by electricity sources.

Friday Seminar: Hybrid Electric Vehicle Energy Management: Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

2013 Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid

This week's TRANSOC Friday Seminar is all about plugin electric hybrid vehicles. UC Berkeley professor Scott Moura will present, "Hybrid Electric Vehicle Energy Management: Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger"

One of the greatest opportunities and challenges in developing a sustainable and efficient transportation infrastructure rests upon intelligent energy management in electrified vehicles. This talk specifically addresses the supervisory control problem in hybrid electric vehicles. That is, how does one optimally split driver power demand among multiple energy sources, e.g. engine and battery? By leveraging electrochemical modeling, optimal control theory, and predictive methods, we demonstrate how to achieve lower fuel costs (better), increased performance (faster), and longer battery lifetime (stronger). Unfortunately, there's no good analogy for "harder". Nevertheless, these results will make you dance.

The seminar takes place from 4-5 PM in 534 Davis Hall. TRANSOC's cookie hour will be in the library as ever at 3:30. 

Friday Seminar: Quantifying the Effects of Excessive Fuel Loading at a Major Airline

Waiting

Tomorrow's TRANSOC Friday Seminar is the third of the semester and features our third mode: aviation! This week, UC Berkeley Civil Engineering PhD students (and NEXTOR researchers) Michael Seelhorst and Lu Hao will present. "Quantifying the Effects of Excessive Fuel Loading at a Major Airline"

In the past 10 years, jet fuel prices have risen almost 500%. As a result, fuel now makes up the largest single expense at most airlines. For example, Delta Air Lines spends $12 billion on fuel each year. With more competition from no-frills carriers and less demand from a lagging economy, legacy air carriers have resorted to dramatic cost reduction strategies in recent years.

Airline fuel efficiency has been studied from a variety of perspectives, from increasing fuel efficient technologies to improving aircraft routing. We focus on an area that has been largely ignored: excessive fuel loading. Flight dispatchers often choose to load extra fuel, beyond the mission required amount, to account for flight contingencies, such as long taxi times, air traffic control re-routes, and poor weather conditions. The extra fuel burn required to carry the additional fuel is not trivial, and presents a huge opportunity for airlines to reduce costs. We investigated strategies for reducing fuel consumption at Delta Air Lines through on-site observations and interviews with flight dispatchers as well as statistical analysis of archival fuel loading data. We estimate that $150 million is being wasted every year through unnecessary fueling practices.

The seminar will be from 4:00-5:00 PM in 534 Davis. TRANSOC's Cookie Hour, as ever, will be in the library at 3:30. 

Is the stereotype of of electric vehicle drivers changing?

Special parking for Ram Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)

That's the question a new article from Transportation Researc Part F asks. In "Electric vehicle drivers’ reported interactions with the public: Driving stereotype change?", researchers from Oxford Brookes University interviewed drivers of electric vehicles about their perceptions of the general public. They found that the stereotype is in a state of flux as the market shifts. It is also shown that the drivers are important as ambassors for electric vehicles taking hold with the rest of the general public. 

New Global BRT Database

Estação e vermelhão

This week BRTdata.org was launched by the Bus Rapid Transit Center of Excellence and EMBARQ. The site acts a clearinghouse for data from BRT systems all over the world. You can see performance indicators by country or city, such as passengers per day, number of corridors, and legth. Check it out and let them know what you think.

Friday Seminar: Shomik Mehndiratta on Sustainable Low-Carbon City Development in China

Shanghai Urban development centre on people's square

This week's TRANSOC Friday Seminar, which is happening today (4/6), features Shomik Mehndiratta from the World Bank. He will present, "Sustainable Low-Carbon City Development in China."

This talk summarizes the key messages of a recently released book that examines, through the specific lens of low-carbon development, the lessons of the World Bank’s activities related to urban development in China.  Amid unprecedented levels of urban migration, rapidly increasing incomes, double digit annual growth in motorization and expanding city forms, many Chinese cities are already on a high carbon-emission growth path. With China set to add an estimated 350 million residents to its cities over the next 20 years, the case for urgent action is strong.

On one hand, China's cities are already reacting to ambitious commitments their leaders have made to reduce the carbon and energy intensity of the economy and transition to a low-carbon growth path.  The country's current (12th) Five-Year Plan includes, for the first time ever, an explicit target to reduce carbon intensity by 17 percent by the end of 2015. However, the imperative to reduce carbon intensity is only one of many competing priorities for government officials in the midst of unprecedented urbanization, modernization, and economic development.

What are the choices Chinese cities are making?  And what are the implications?  Achievements and challenges to low-carbon city development in China will be discussed with a particular focus on transport, land-use and urban spatial development.

The seminar will be at 4:00pm in 534 Davis Hall as usual. Don't miss Cookie Hour in the library at 3:30!

Friday Seminar -Kitae Jang on Traffic Interactions in Freeways with Carpool Lanes

carpool lane

This Friday's TRANSOC Seminar features Kitae Jang, Ph.D. Candidate, University of California, Berkeley, presenting on "Traffic Interactions in Freeways with Carpool Lanes."

The study is concerned with the vehicular interactions that arise when carpool and regular vehicles are segregated in their own lanes. Real data show that reserving a lane for carpools on congested freeways induces a smoothing effect that is characterized by significantly higher bottleneck discharge flows (capacities) in adjacent regular-use lanes.  Thanks to this smoothing effect, we find in many cases that the carpool lanes – even when underused themselves – can benefit travelers in the regular lanes.  Ironically, the regular-use lanes are often damaging to the carpool-lane travelers. We find that the vehicle speeds in a carpool lane are negatively influenced by both growing use of that lane and diminishing vehicle speeds in the adjacent regular-use lane.  The findings do not bode well for a new US regulation stipulating that most classes of Low-Emitting Vehicles (LEVs) are to vacate slow-moving carpool lanes.  Analysis shows that relegating some or all of these vehicles to regular-use lanes can significantly add to regular-lane congestion; and that despite the reduced use of the carpool lanes this, in turn, can also reduce the speeds of those vehicles that continue to use the carpool lanes.  Constructive ways to amend the new regulation are discussed, as are promising strategies to increase the vehicle speeds in carpool lanes by improving the travel conditions in regular lanes.

The seminar will take place from 4-5 pm in 406 Davis on November 18. Please come to TRANSOC's Cookie Hour preceeding the seminar at 3:30 pm in the library.

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