Air quality impacts of using overnight electricity generation to cahrge plug-in hybrid electric vehicles for daytime use




Thompson, Tammy
Webber, Michael E.
Allen, David T.

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


IOP Publishing


The air quality impacts of replacing 20% of the gasoline powered light duty vehicle miles traveled with plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) in the region served by the Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland classic grid are examined. Unutilized, base-load nighttime electricity generating capacity is assumed to charge PHEVs that would subsequently be used during urban commutes. The net impact of this scenario on the emissions of precursors to the formation of ozone is an increase in nitrogen oxide (NOx), volatile organic compound (VOC) and CO emissions from electricity generating units during nighttime hours, and a greater decrease in NOx, VOC and CO from mobile emissions in urban areas during daytime hours. The changes in maximum daily 8 h ozone concentrations, predicted using a regional photochemical model (CAMx), are decreases in ozone concentrations between 2 and 6 ppb that are widespread across the urban areas, and increases in ozone concentrations of up to 8 ppb in highly localized areas. Air quality indicators beyond maximum daily ozone concentration are also evaluated, and in general indicate air quality improvements associated with the use of PHEVs. However, a limited number of air quality indicators worsened with the use of PHEVs, suggesting that overall impacts of the use of PHEVs will be complex.


LCSH Subject Headings


T.M. Thompson, M.E. Webber, and D.T. Allen, "Air Quality Impacts of Using Overnight Electricity Generation to Charge PHEVs for Daytime Use," Environmental Research Letters 4 014002 (12pp) January 2009.