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Sustainability 2018, 10(3), 676; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10030676

Comparing the Effects of Vehicle Automation, Policy-Making and Changed User Preferences on the Uptake of Electric Cars and Emissions from Transport

1
Chemical Engineering Department, Imperial College London, London SW7 2AZ, UK
2
Earth Science and Engineering Department, Imperial College London, London SW7 2AZ, UK
3
Mechanical Engineering Department, Imperial College London, London SW7 2AZ, UK
4
Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College London, London SW7 2AZ, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 January 2018 / Revised: 19 February 2018 / Accepted: 22 February 2018 / Published: 2 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Transport: Transport, Environment, and Development)
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Abstract

Switching energy demand for transport from liquid fuels to electricity is the most promising way to significantly improve air quality and reduce transport emissions. Previous studies have shown this is possible, that by 2035 the economics of alternative powertrain and energy vectors will have converged. However, they do not address whether the transition is likely or plausible. Using the UK as a case study, we present a systems dynamics model based study informed by transition theory and explore the effects of technology progress, policy-making, user preferences and; for the first time, automated vehicles on this transition. We are not trying to predict the future but to highlight what is necessary in order for different scenarios to become more or less likely. Worryingly we show that current policies with the expected technology progress and expectations of vehicle buyers are insufficient to reach global targets. Faster technology progress, strong financial incentives or a change in vehicle buyer expectations are crucial but still insufficient. In contrast, the biggest switch to alternatively fuelled vehicles could be achieved by the introduction of automated vehicles. The implications will affect policy makers, automotive manufactures, technology developers and broader society. View Full-Text
Keywords: electric vehicle; transition; policy; autonomous vehicles; simulation electric vehicle; transition; policy; autonomous vehicles; simulation
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Mazur, C.; Offer, G.J.; Contestabile, M.; Brandon, N.B. Comparing the Effects of Vehicle Automation, Policy-Making and Changed User Preferences on the Uptake of Electric Cars and Emissions from Transport. Sustainability 2018, 10, 676.

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