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.
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.
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.