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Sorry Engineer-poet -- didn't actually see your email address in your sidebar. My full name is in the blog post as well as being my username. Easy to pull me up in quick web search.
I'm one of the authors of the publication. And -- wow -- I'm pretty startled by the vitriol of some of the comments. I encourage everyone to read the actual paper, because it addresses many of the issues that are raised in the comments. For what it's worth, the paper was not intended to make EVs look bad. Our goal was to understand spatial variation in ownership costs -- that is, how EV ownership costs varied across major US cities depending on factors such as tax policies, driving patterns, relative gasoline/electricity prices, and vehicle depreciation rates. We wanted it to be an empirical analysis based on real-world data, unlike most of the TCO literature, which is based on simulation models. That meant we had to use an older vehicle because at the time of data collection, the 2011 Nissan Leaf was the only EV where we could get a full five fiscal years of data (not just about the cars, but also about policies, fuel prices, etc.). And because we were interested in speaking to debates about mass adoption, we chose the most popular models of each type of car (ICEV, HEV, BEV). We ran tons of sensitivity analyses and counterfactual scenario analyses to explore the robustness of the results. It's a thorough paper that has a lot of depth in it that's not apparent just in the summary above. We expected to find that, for the 'typical' vehicle owner, EVs make financial sense in some cities but not others depending on local policies, prices, and driving distances. That wasn't the result we got. But that's the way research works; it doesn't always give you what you 'want' to hear. That's often where you learn the most. Doing this analysis demonstrated several important point about the structure of costs. This includes the importance of variable depreciation rates and state-level policy, both of which are ignored in most TCO studies. We also showed how much variation there is across cities, which may seem obvious but hadn't previously been studied or quantified (the vast majority of the TCO literature uses nationally-representative parameter values). Anyways, I just wanted to provide a bit more explanation and background. If you read the paper, you'll see it's a rigorous analysis with a lot of depth and nuance, not a hit job on EVs. Please feel free to contact me if you'd like help getting a copy of the paper.
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Jul 11, 2018