Air quality impacts of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in Texas: Evaluating three battery charging scenarios
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The air quality impacts of replacing approximately 20% of the gasoline-powered light duty vehicle miles traveled (VMT) with electric VMT by the year 2018 were examined for four major cities in Texas: Dallas/Ft Worth, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) charging was assumed to occur on the electric grid controlled by the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), and three charging scenarios were examined: nighttime charging, charging to maximize battery life, and charging to maximize driver convenience. A subset of electricity generating units (EGUs) in Texas that were found to contribute the majority of the electricity generation needed to charge PHEVs at the times of day associated with each scenario was modeled using a regional photochemical model (CAMx). The net impacts of the PHEVs on the emissions of precursors to the formation of ozone included an increase in NOx emissions from EGUs during times of day when the vehicle is charging, and a decrease in NOx from mobile emissions. The changes in maximum daily 8 h ozone concentrations and average exposure potential at twelve air quality monitors in Texas were predicted on the basis of these changes in NOx emissions. For all scenarios, at all monitors, the impact of changes in vehicular emissions, rather than EGU emissions, dominated the ozone impact. In general, PHEVs lead to an increase in ozone during nighttime hours (due to decreased scavenging from both vehicles and EGU stacks) and a decrease in ozone during daytime hours. A few monitors showed a larger increase in ozone for the convenience charging scenario versus the other two scenarios. Additionally, cumulative ozone exposure results indicate that nighttime charging is most likely to reduce a measure of ozone exposure potential versus the other two scenarios.
Tammy Thompson is with Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Carey King is with UT Austin, David Allen is with UT Austin, and Michael Webber is with UT Austin
CitationT.M. Thompson, C.W. King, D.T. Allen, and M.E. Webber, "Air Quality Impacts of Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles in Texas: Evaluating Three Battery Charging Scenarios," Environmental Research Letters 6 024004 (11pp) (2011).
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