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Incentives are Critical for Market Success of Low-Carbon Vehicles

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Low-Carbon Vehicles
Behavior-influencing policies are critical for the mass-market success of low-carbon vehicles, according to a new research.

A European study analyzes non-financial reasons why people choose specific types of vehicles. Additionally, it takes a look at the possible long-term energy and carbon-emissions implications of those choices.

The study was conducted by researchers David McCollum of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis and Charlie Wilson of the University of East Anglia, U.K.

They have stated that available models and brands, comfort, acceleration, interior space and the availability of infrastructure are also important for a consumer to make his choice. Most of these are still lacking for most zero-emission and low-carbon vehicles, particularly electric and hydrogen ones.

Six global energy-economy models were used in the study, upgrading the tools so the consumers’ behavior will be more precisely represented. Also, they modeled two different scenarios for the alternative-fuel vehicles (AFV) policy worldwide to 2050.

The first one pushes the use of alternative-fuel vehicles and leads consumers to become less risk-averse. That results in low-carbon vehicles becoming the norm. On the other hand, without the push, the status quo has not significantly changed. Without such behavior-influencing policies, there was no growth in the infrastructure and the use of AFVs.

The results from the researches showed us that the right choice of policies and strategies can lead to AFV’s market share of more than 25% of all vehicles by 2050. Without them, the share will be around 1% without any improvement of the status quo situation.

Some examples of such behavior-influencing policies are fuel taxes, vehicle subsidies, technology mandates, efficiency standards, investment in refueling infrastructure and dedicated parking spaces, as well as social media campaigns and car-sharing networks to demonstrate the technology.

The effect of such policies can be seen in countries, such as China, Iceland, Norway, Sweden. 40% of passenger cars on the Norwegian roads are plug-in hybrids or electric.

These policies will be needed in order to sell alternative-fuel vehicles to many people who consider non-financial attributes.

[Via IIASA]

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