• 05 May, 2016
  • Current Research, Electric Mobility

Project Description

Objective

To synthesize social, economic and environmental findings of the previous phases as it relates to aspects such as consumer, commercial and public transit demand and to derive insights for the overall impacts for Canada of a shift to EV mobility.

Description

Over the prior eight modules there will have been a substantial amount of research done over a range of subject areas, all related to understanding the dynamics of EV adoption for consumer, business and government entities. Each of the prior modules is worthwhile research in its own right, and of great utility for the automotive sector in Canada, but the purpose of this module is to pull all the findings together in a coherent package. This is the module that will directly address the social costs and benefits of EV adoption in Canada under a variety of scenarios that will be well-informed at this stage given all the prior work.

Progress

Work has not commenced on this module but is expected to within the next year as results from other modules become available. Dr. Adams and other members of the research team such as Dr. Mohamed and Dr. Ferguson and some student members are likely to become involved as results from the individual models are naturally feeding into this integrative module.


  • 05 May, 2016
  • Current Research, Electric Mobility

Project Description

Objective

To provide a quantitative method to estimate where the charging facilities should be built, and with what capacities, given the service levels required by EV customers and based on scenarios derived from the earlier modules of this research.

Description

Associated with the adoption of EVs are the dual concerns of range anxiety and the amount of time required for recharging in the midst of daily activities. The type and distribution of recharging infrastructure is quite relevant to addressing and reducing these consumer concerns. Associated with the optimization problem will be the issue of what the actual objective should be. Solutions that propose an aggregate minimization of customer effort could likely result in urbanized charging infrastructure associated with high density areas. On the other hand, if the objective is for consumers to never be too far away from charging infrastructure, then solutions that are more heavily weighted to rural and outlying areas might be better because they would do the most to temper the range anxiety of consumers. These are the types of issues that will be addressed through this research.

The "time" variable will be another matter of concern for the research and is also related to consumer range anxiety. One element of time is whether the charging infrastructure is available 24 hours per day. Another element is how long it takes to charge an EV's battery. Both of these are variables that could affect the adoption rate of EVs. In terms of charging infrastructure there is the question of whether an optimal network should have differing charging capabilities at different locations to provide the best overall solution.

Progress

This module is being led by Dr. Kai Huang from the McMaster DeGroote School of Business and his Master’s student Xiaozhou (Joe) Zhang. Although work was not slated to start on this module until later in the research, Dr. Huang saw an opportunity to initiate methodological progress on the module through his Master's level student Xiaozhou (Joe) Zhang.

The results of this methodological analysis has been a paper that has been submitted to Transportation Research D and is titled: “The design of electric vehicle charging network.” The research establishes a methodology for the identification of optimal public locations for level 2 and level 3 chargers. The method is based on a number of assumptions the relaxation of which requires information about the spatial distribution of the adoption of electric vehicles. The plan is to apply this new method to several Canadian cities once the outputs from the consumer and geodemographic analysis become available.

Joe Zhang investigated the literature as it relates to charging infrastructure and is ran initial optimization scenarios. The results of these efforts will be prototype for the optimization process and some initial sense of the issues that may arise. Once the results from other modules become available, they will serve as useful inputs into the actual optimization scenarios that will underlie the overall project.


  • 05 May, 2016
  • Current Research, Electric Mobility

Project Description

Objective

To represent the localized environmental and health impacts of a shift to EV mobility for a series of Census Metropolitan Areas in Canada.

Description

A central capability in this module is to translate forecast traffic flows for specific road links within a metropolitan area into their associated emission totals across a wide range of pollutants.

Traffic and congestion are also being linked to heart disease and respiratory problems. Researchers have estimated that the public health dollar impacts of traffic congestion are significant. It is clear that focusing only on the economic impacts of traffic congestion is misguided. It is also clear that EVs have the potential to not only minimize the emissions associated with the large numbers of vehicles on the road but also to reduce the compounded effects that occur when these vehicles are moving slowly in stop-and-go traffic or idling.

Progress

This module is associated with work that will take place into 2016 but some preparatory work has already been taking place. Through a new model called MOVES2014, we will assess the emissions impacts of a wide range of electric mobility adoption scenarios.

The module will benefit from considerable research that has done in the past by MITL on road-link based emissions associated with vehicular travel. The differential spatial environmental and social impacts of electric mobility across the metropolitan landscape will become evident through this analysis and will rely heavily on the results of the completed consumer survey.


  • 05 May, 2016
  • Current Research, Electric Mobility

Project Description

Objective

To capture direct, indirect and induced dollar impacts on the national and provincial economies of varying EV adoption scenarios.

Description

A large shift to EV mobility, particularly a rapid one, would have significant repercussions for the Canadian economy. There are three main positive aspects to the EV economic impacts. First, there are the new capital impacts that arise from new investment in machinery, warehousing, and infrastructure to support the EV system. Second, there will be new operational expenditure impacts that arise from operating and maintaining the new vehicles. Third, there will be energy and repair expenditure savings on account of lower operational costs and the environmental and renewable energy friendly nature of EVs. These savings support increases in consumption of other goods and services as they raise the disposable incomes of households.

However, in the short run at least, many of the impacts might well not be positive. A large share of Canada's economic system is premised on the automobile and its current dependence on the internal combustion engine. In Canada there are currently nine auto assembly plants, 160,000 workers in auto production and parts manufacturing and 336,000 workers in distribution and aftermarket sales and service. Various stakeholders will have concerns about a shift. Auto Dealerships could have reservations about the lower life-cycle maintenance costs of EVs. Vertically integrated petroleum companies could face lost revenues as the transportation sector is a critical end-market for their products. People and firms who repair internal combustion engines and perform other maintenance and owners of gas stations would have valid concerns about the growth prospects of their businesses.

Progress

The economic impact analysis will be dependent on the outputs of other modules.

Some useful preparatory work has already been undertaken. In 2014, the research team worked with the Windfall Ecology Centre to contribute to their related study “The Economic Impact of Electric Vehicle Adoption in Ontario.” In 2015 team members Kubursi and Kanaroglou have worked on a report titled: “The Automotive Sector in Canada: Prospects and Challenges” that it is intended to set a benchmark for the importance of the auto sector as a whole to the Canadian economy. Results are based on a macroeconomic model which ultimately will be run for several realistic scenarios illustrating the adoption of electric vehicles. The scenarios are going to be developed after extensive econometric analysis of survey data collected for Canada and after required inputs from other modules become available.

Quinn Hachey is a Master’s candidate who is involved in research that will support the objectives of this module. His research is on understanding the nature of automotive supply chains and the automotive industry and the extent to which traditional automotive manufacturers will have the wherewithal to be adaptable in the face of disruptive innovations such as the rise of the electric vehicle. Results from this research will provide valuable insight that will support the economic impact analysis.


  • 05 May, 2016
  • Current Research, Electric Mobility

Project Description

Objective
To leverage information from the consumer stated preference survey and other relevant data sources to develop a national EV adoption segmentation system for small census areas. The outcome will be an applied software and data tool that will allow partners and other external parties to carry out basic forms of analysis on the consumer EV market.

Description
Geodemographics has to do with the comprehensive characterization of populations over space and is typically associated with segments into which small census or postal areas are assigned. The private sector has developed small area segmentation systems across Canada for the characterization of a wide range of purchasing behaviours. These are general purpose segmentation systems that go by names such as PRIZM and PSYTE. In these systems, each small census area (e.g. a dissemination area) or a postal code is assigned one of perhaps 50-60 or more cluster codes depending on what group is most representative of the households in that area. The dominant variables which define the clusters or groups are ones such as age, income, household composition and position on the urban/rural hierarchy among a range of other factors. Having defined a segment, each one is ultimately associated with a name and a description so that the end-user of a segmentation system can conceive a "picture" of the households that define the segment.

The outputs of this module have been viewed as an excellent means to share insights about how the adoption of electric vehicles is likely to unfold in spatial terms across Canada. Geodemographic insights that emerge from locational context variables in the consumer survey will illustrate, for example, whether suburbanites or central city residents will respond more quickly. There will be insights about whether occupants of single detached dwellings with space for home charging infrastructure might be faster to adapt and whether occupants of multi-storey apartment dwellers might be slower to adopt. The segmentation system that will emerge from the analysis will be made available to partners at the small census area level (dissemination areas) and will be constructed using data from the approximately 20,000 survey respondents. Each census dissemination area will be classified into one of several consumer segments where each segment will have a unique character as regards adoption of electric vehicles.

For the purposes of this module, we will focus on the potential purchasing behavior as it relates to EVs. A custom segmentation system geared toward EVs could be used to easily differentiate, for example, the profiles of the Ford Focus Electric from the Nissan Leaf, or it could be used to differentiate the profiles of some EV from a conventional gasoline-powered vehicle.

Progress
Dr. Chris Higgins, a post-doctoral fellow at the McMaster Institute for Transportation and Logistics will play a leading role in the development of the geodemographic deliverables from this module. While the information that will be shared with partners will be at the dissemination area level, research will be conducted as low as the micro-level. The main methodological challenge will be the “mapping” of the results from the 20,000 respondents in an appropriate manner so as to be representative of the attitudes of the population of Canadian households over space. We would expect that coping with this methodological challenge will lead to a methodically-oriented paper suitable for peer reviewed publication. The main data deliverables of the module will be of interest to the partners and resulting insights will be of interest for a wide audience. To some extent, this module will bring the results of the consumer survey “to life” in terms of communicating with the outside world.

Get Clarity Inc. has contributed small area data on the types of vehicles for which people are obtaining insurance quotes. This small area information may provide further guidance in generating the most realistic pattern of adoption behaviour. This would be viewed as a secondary source relative to the main survey results.

One of the important uses of the geodemographic module and its focus on small-area geographies is the possible impact of clusters of EV car owners on utilities as localized utility infrastructure potentially gets overwhelmed from the demand for charging. To this end, Amal Elhiny has been focussing on understanding the power generation and distribution industry across Canada and the factors that will affect the responsiveness of the industry to deal with a potentially serious problem. Certainly, this analysis is not geodemographics per se but the outputs of this module are critical to understanding the geographic scope of the potential issue.

This module will be an important focus of the project towards the end of 2015 and into 2016.


  • 05 May, 2016
  • Current Research, Electric Mobility

Project Description

Objective

To use appropriate statistical modelling tools to quantify results of the stated preference experiments and derive measurable insight into the determinants of preferences among the general population and businesses.

Description

The stated preference approach for both consumers and businesses will yield a set of survey data that is well suited to analysis by a statistical model. The data will contain information on the choices of vehicle that people and organizations are likely to make and inferences will be possible about the determinants of those choices. To actually distill and understand the relative impact of these determinants, it is necessary to fit a statistical model to the data.

Discrete Choice models are well-suited to choice scenarios associated with categorical response variables such as the choice of a vehicle. Discrete Choice methods will form the backbone of the statistical analysis on stated preference data for both consumers and fleets.

Progress

With respect to the consumer stated preference data, the discrete choice analysis of these data has been well-underway since later in the summer after developing a comprehensive modelling database from the surveyed data. This analysis is going well and will support multiple academic publications. The same team that has participated in the consumer module (Section 3.1) is working on this module.

With respect to the fleet module, the final data have not yet been collected. Discrete choice analysis of these data will proceed likely in late autumn 2015 or early 2016. The same team that has worked on the fleet module (Section 3.2) will work on this component of the discrete choice analysis module.


  • 05 May, 2016
  • Current Research, Electric Mobility

Project Description

Objective
Arrive at an understanding of the drivers of EV adoption in the public transit context, as it relates to buses in particular, through interviews with leading municipal officials across the country.

Description
Among larger vehicles, one of the interesting areas of application is the category of buses for public transit. While such vehicles are large by volume, they are much lighter than loaded heavy trucks and thus better suited to EV technology. Other attractive aspects about the public transit context are that operations are along precise and defined routes that eliminate any concerns with range. There is currently a partnership underway in Winnipeg to test rapid charge, battery electric buses built by New Flyer Industries. The partnership involves Winnipeg transit, the Federal and Manitoba governments, Mitsubishi, Red River College and Manitoba Hydro. So the concept of electric buses has gained at least some initial traction in Canada.

The purpose of this module is to assess the potential and to consider the important issues for similar EV technologies to be utilized in the public transit context across Canada. The research will address some of the same issues that apply for consumers and EV fleets with the exception that the focus is on public transit. With a small and finite set of potential adopters of the bus EV technology in Canada, the preferred approach is stakeholder interviews as opposed to a stated preference study which would be more appropriate with a large pool of potential respondents.

The introduction of EV buses will be associated with a range of issues. Cold weather operation may be an issue in some jurisdictions since it impacts the storage capacity of batteries. There will be evaluations of variables such as purchase and fuel/energy costs, maintenance costs, component replacement cycles and costs for additional personnel training. EV buses may require their own unique facility requirements.

Progress

The public transit stakeholder interviews module has been the subject of intense focus in the past 12 months and considerable progress has been made. Post-doctoral fellow Dr. Moataz Mohamed has taken a strong leadership role in the public transit context and indications are that this module will deliver far in excess of what was contemplated in the original proposal. PhD student Ryan Garnett has played a prominent role also along with other members of the overall electric mobility research team.

The core of efforts over the past year was focused on data collection in semi-structured interviews with transit service providers and municipalities across Canada. Eleven in-person interviews were conducted to capture nearly 70% of bus ridership across the country in terms of jurisdictions represented. A grounded theory qualitative analysis of the transcribed interviews revealed that 55 themes allocated across four categories captured the elements that are thought to govern the adoption of electric buses in Canada. An academic paper has been developed (see Stage 3 below) to disseminate these results and it is imminently to be submitted for a review process associated with the World Conference in Transport Research to take place in Shanghai, China in July 2016. Papers accepted through the review track are to be published in Transportation Research D.

It is worthwhile to summarize the various phases of this module that have been completed, are in progress or are planned:

  • Stage 1 was based on a literature review which resulted in a paper: "Electric Buses: A Review of Alternative Powertrains.” This has been submitted to The Journal of Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews. The research benefitted from a detailed literature review that visiting Professor Panos Papaioannou (from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece) conducted in 2014.
  • Stage 2 has been a content analysis of transportation master plans across the country to gain insight into the extent to which electric buses have penetrated the municipal planning landscape. A draft of a paper based on this work has been developed but has not been submitted yet to an academic journal.
  • Stage 3 is really at the core of the original proposed work and is based on interviews with service providers and municipalities about the prospects for electric mobility. This work has resulted in a paper titled: “What Hinders Adoption of the Electric Bus in Canadian Transit?: Perspectives of Transit Providers” which has already been submitted for possible publication in the journal Transportation Research D
  • Stage 3 research has revealed that smaller and medium-sized cities are arguably the most promising for adoption of electric buses. Accordingly, Stage 4 is intended to be a life cycle cost analysis in the small city context based on the conducted interviews and the literature. Related to this work will be research that assesses the impact of the e-bus on power grids in the small city context. A paper on this topic is expected to be completed in early 2016.
  • Stage 5 will focus on interviews with policy-makers to better understand the political barriers to E-bus adoption. Another set of up to 10 interviews would be completed by Spring 2016.
  • A final stage will develop a feasible blueprint for the adoption of e-buses in Canada. To some extent, this will be aligned with our overall Module Integration that unites the entire body of research conducted under the umbrella of this project.

  • 05 May, 2016
  • Electric Mobility

Project Description

Objective

Develop a provincial set of stated preference data to serve as input data for the quantification of determinants of EV fleet vehicle purchases relative to other vehicle types. The survey work will be extended beyond Ontario for select organizations which will be determined as part of the research.

Description

The stated preference approach will also be of use in assessing EV decision-making as it relates to the vehicle fleets of businesses or public agencies. For the most part, these will be car fleets but the research will also look into perceptions in the context of deploying EV trucks designed for urban distribution. Other classes of commercial fleets of interest include taxis and rental cars. Further investigation may suggest inquiring into public utility vehicles and school buses. Municipalities all over North America are certainly considering EVs. In December 2012, for example, the City of Indianapolis announced that it would replace its entire fleet with EVs and plug-in hybrids.

With respect to EV commercial vehicle movements, the most fertile areas of application are for smaller vehicles. For the larger trucks, natural gas engines of the type designed, for example, by Westport Innovations are showing greater potential as far as alternative fuels are concerned. The largest of EV commercial vehicles are designed for payloads of up to 7.5 tonnes. Smith Electric Vehicles is an example of a firm which sells such vehicles. These are designed for predictable, depot-based routes and can operate up to 150 miles on a single charge. Such vehicles are very effective in the heavy stop-and-go operations that are often found in the urban context. The fact that the range of these vehicles is sufficient for most route operations reduces or eliminates dependence on distributed charging infrastructure.

Progress

Early in the second year after extensive reviews of the literature, it was determined that two distinct survey instruments would be developed for this module, both of which have received ethics approval by the University of Windsor at this stage. Both of these are stated preference surveys which have respondents choose vehicles out of generated scenarios. Work is currently underway to implement the first of these which is a government/corporate fleet acquisition questionnaire.(October 2015) This is being developed as a web-tool survey and is expected to be completed within the next several weeks along with a supporting experimental design. PhD student Shakil Khan is focused on this survey instrument.

With regard to the second survey instrument, research revealed that rental vehicles account for a significant share of all corporate fleets in terms of numbers. Accordingly, it was decided that the best way to determine how this market segment might evolve in response to electric vehicles was to do a consumer-oriented survey of the rental vehicle market. As with the consumer module from Section 3.1, these data will be collected by accessing the survey panel of Research Now. For now the survey instrument is being implemented on the web as a secured web-tool survey at the University of Windsor and will likely be launched (as a pilot) ahead of the government/corporate survey. Research Now will direct members of their survey panel to respond to the survey and the data collection should commence in the next several weeks. Master’s student Terence Dimatulac has focused on this survey instrument.


  • 05 May, 2016
  • Current Research, Electric Mobility

Project Description

Objective

“Develop a national set of consumer stated preference data for Canada to serve as input data for the quantification of determinants of EV vehicle purchases relative to other vehicle types”.

Description

The primary focus of this research is to develop an understanding of EV consumers in Canada and the variables that affect their preferences for EVs versus other vehicle alternatives. Since the consumer market for EVs is in its very early stages of development, there is an incomplete picture of how this market will unfold. Meanwhile, there is the potential for EV technology to have a profound impact on society and for multiple stakeholders to be affected. A methodological approach is needed to develop the most complete picture of what is likely to happen, before it happens.

In the case of EVs, very few have been purchased in the Canadian context so it would be impossible to build a large and representative sample to drive a revealed preference econometric model. Fortunately, there are experimental designs and survey data collection methods that focus on the choices households would make under different scenarios of pricing and automobile characteristics. These techniques give rise to stated preference modelling and permit measurement of the potential acceptance of technologies, such as EVs, which have virtually zero market shares at present.

Progress

This is a centerpiece module for the overall study and is of interest to all partners and stakeholders. In addition, its outputs act as inputs for other modules in the project. Accordingly, significant time and effort has gone into progressing this important module over the course of 2014/2015.

The final data collection associated with the consumer stated preference survey took place in May 2015 and about 21,000 observations have been collected over the course of a soft launch, two pilot surveys, and the final data collection. Extensive data has been collected for ten provinces. The approach has been stratified in that less populous provinces have been given disproportionate weight so that sounder conclusions can be drawn province-by-province. The decision was made not to cover the territories due to inadequate coverage by the Research Now consumer panel in those jurisdictions.

It is very important to note that this work has been done in close communication with all partners and stakeholders who have reviewed paper versions of the survey and who have commented on the survey after it was programmed by Research Now. At every stage, ideas from partners and stakeholders have been implemented.

The final survey instrument collected information about:

  • Residential location (Six-digit postal code)
  • Residential context
  • Demographics of the household
  • Car ownership patterns within the household
  • Future plans to purchase vehicles
  • Household parking circumstances
  • Attitudes towards various dimensions linked to electric mobility
  • Vehicle usage patterns

The focus of the survey was a stated preference piece that offered each respondent four scenarios similar to the one pictured below (it appeared much larger in the actual survey). In each scenario, choices were made between gasoline, hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles depending on which vehicle looked most attractive to respondents. A host of vehicle attributes were included on the choice screens to permit future assessment of the importance of each attribute on the choice decision. It was not unusual for respondents to choose different vehicle types across the scenarios.

As part of our mandate, we saw it important to educate respondents about electric mobility and the options that might be open to them that they had not thought much about in the past. The educational component is exemplified through the screen below and other screens which prepared the respondent for the fairly involved choices that would follow.

This survey has been well-received based on feedback from respondents. Full contact information for the research team was provided to all respondents.

This data set has already given rise to one paper that has been submitted to the Journal of Transport Policy and is under review. The paper focuses primarily on the attitudinal data that were collected via the survey. The paper is titled: “Who Will Adopt Electric Vehicles? A Psychographic Segmentation of the Canadian Market for Economy Cars”


  • 02 May, 2016
  • Current Research, Electric Mobility

Project Description

Our Social Cost and Benefits of Electric Mobility in Canada is a five year research project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) through the Automotive Partnership of Canada (APC). The overall objective of this research is to develop a clear understanding of the wide range of costs and benefits that will emerge in Canada as electric mobility develops and to help prepare the automotive sector, electric utilities, government and other stakeholders for the future.

Currently, this project includes researchers from a variety of disciplines including geography, climate, economics, business, engineering. Our academic researchers are based at McMaster University and the University of Windsor. Industry partners include: the Ford Motor Company, the Canadian Automobile Association, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, Burlington Hydro and Electric Mobility Canada and Purolator.