Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Lisa Aultman-Hall


The transportation sector is a largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the U.S., accounting for 28.6% of all 2016 emissions, the majority of which come from the passenger vehicle fleet [1,2]. One major technology that is being investigated by researchers, planners, and policy makers to help lower the emissions from the transportation sector is the plug-in electric vehicle (PEV). The focus of this work is to investigate and model the impacts of increased levels of PEVs on the regional electric power grid and on the net change in CO2 emissions due to the decrease tailpipe emissions and the increase in electricity generation under current emissions caps. The study scope includes all of New England and New York state, modeled as one system of electricity supply and demand, which includes the estimated 2030 baseline demand and the cur- rent generation capacity plus increased renewable capacity to meet state Renewable Portfolio Standard targets for 2030.

The models presented here include fully electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, public charging infrastructure scenarios, hourly charging demand, solar and wind generation and capacity factors, and real-world travel derived from the 2016-2017 National Household Travel Survey. We make certain assumptions, informed by the literature, with the goal of creating a modeling methodology to improve the estimation of hourly PEV charging demand for input into regional electric sector dispatch models. The methodology included novel stochastic processes, considered seasonal and weekday versus weekend differences in travel, and did not force the PEV battery state-of-charge to be full at any specific time of day.

The results support the need for public charging infrastructure, specifically at workplaces, with the “work” infrastructure scenario shifting more of the unmanaged charging demand to daylight hours when solar generation could be utilized. Workplace charging accounted for 40% of all non-home charging demand in the scenario where charging infrastructure was “universally” available. Under the increased renewable fuel portfolio, the reduction in average CO2 emissions ranged from 90 to 92% for the vehicles converted from ICEV to PEV. The total emissions reduced for 15% PEV penetration and universally available charging infrastructure was 5.85 million metric tons, 5.27% of system-wide emissions.

The results support the premise of plug-in electric vehicles being an important strategy for the reduction of CO2 emissions in our study region. Future investigation into the extent of reductions possible with both the optimization of charging schedules through pricing or other mechanisms and the modeling of grid level energy storage is warranted. Additional model development should include a sensitivity analysis of the PEV charging demand model parameters, and better data on the charging behavior of PEV owners as they continue to penetrate the market at higher rates.



Number of Pages

148 p.