Monday, October 05, 2009

The "Green" Consequences of Introducing the Plug-In Prius by 2012

This article says that Toyota will soon introduce plug-in hybrids. It claims that these vehicles will be able to travel up to 10 miles on just their electric battery and then each night they would be recharged. So, this means that urban drivers could sharply increase their vehicle's fuel economy and presumably also reduce their smog emissions. Per mile of driving how much will CO2 emissions decline by? This hinges on the average power plant's emissions factor. If California goes ahead with its aggressive RPS standard then the electricity will be getting greener at the same time that more of the vehicle fleet will be running on electricity.

Suppose that 100% of the California vehicle fleet runs on electric power. If each of the 20 million vehicles runs on electricity and travels 12,000 miles each; how much extra power will be needed to travel this 240 billion miles? California is going to need to site a lot of new generation capacity. Which suburban communities will forget about NIMBY issues? Where will transmission lines be sited? Will ecologists battle the energy generation community over where to site these needed facilities?

It is clear to me that the introduction of the Plug-In hybrids will certainly help to meet the Pavley fuel economy standards. A small share of the fleet (if it achieves 250 MPG) can help to meet this average standard.

3 comments :

Max said...

And what is your baseline? I just bought quite a few 50cent kWh....

Josh said...

What about distributed generation? Solar panels on every available parking lot, and strapped to every available overpass?

Also, I don't know it, but I'd be willing to bet that the 20% reduction in water use by 2020 could make up the electrical shortfall we'd experience from new plug-in hybrids. Our water systems in California use about 20% of our total electricity consumption.

Josh said...

Also, Prof., I link to your website at my blog sometimes, and it's easier for the link if you would provide individual pages to link to. If somebody ever reads my blog, they might find a link to your blog, but it wouldn't link directly to the referenced piece.