Research says policies and subisides for plug-ins wrong
The paper by Associate Professor Jeremy J. Michalek of Carnegie Mellon University, Assistant Professor Mikhail Chester of Arizona State University and Constantine Samaras of the RAND Corporation will publish in the summer issue of the journal Issues in Science and Technology and is based on an earlier study by the authors regarding electric vehicle adoption strategies.
The researchers contend that promoting the adoption of higher-cost, lower production vehicles like plug-in electrics (PHEV) and battery electrics (BEV) with large battery packs provides little benefit in a dollar-for-dollar comparison. Vehicles with smaller battery packs, such as non-plug-in hybrids, and short-range plug-ins, offer more benefits per dollar spent.
"...existing and proposed subsidies provide larger payments for vehicles with larger battery packs. Larger battery packs enable vehicles to displace more gasoline, so at first glance one might think that subsidizing larger battery packs is better for the environment and for oil security. But large battery packs are also expensive; the added weight reduces efficiency; they are underused when the battery capacity is larger than needed for a typical trip; they have greater charging infrastructure requirements; and they produce more emissions during manufacturing. Whether larger battery packs offer more benefits on balance depends on their net impacts from cradle to grave." -Michalek et al, 2012