Electric vehicles in action
Abstract: This thesis analyses the political and practical conditions for introducing electric vehicles in Swedish public authorites and discusses the potential for using electric vehicles in public transport and public fleets. The work has been carried out using an interdisciplinary research approach. Such an approach brings new insights to energy studies; the combination of technical methods and methods from social science allows the technology to be studied in its societal context.Local self-government enables Swedish public authorities to implement local solutions in order to achieve national policy goals. However, the results show that for energy and transport policy a clear allocation of responsibilities between local and regional levels is lacking – and this clarity is also lacking between the different policy areas. The lack of policy integration implies a risk that local policy development can miss the mark when it comes to the overall policy goal. Furthermore, findings show that so-called policy entrepreneurs can succeed in putting electric vehicles on the political agenda, and they can enforce decisions and deploy the vehicles within the public bodies.The usage of plug-in electric vehicles in public fleets has been studied using (among other sources) logbooks, interviews, questionnaires and focus groups. Findings demonstrate a great potential to introduce plug-in electric vehicles through fleets. Although the usage varied slightly during the year, and winter conditions implied a general reduction in use, the results show that the deployment strategy is a central factor for the extent of the vehicle usage. Vehicles that are assigned a certain user or a specific task show a high degree of utilisation. Even though plug-in electric vehicles available through car-pools have a large potential group of users, the options also implies that users can instead choose a conventional vehicle. However, interventions to increase usage have proven to be successful. Policy entrepreneurial actions attract new users and revising organisational regulations, i.e. vehicle or environmental policies, shapes new behaviours. In this study, fleet vehicle users have proven to be relative indifferent to which fuel or technology they use, but acceptance for operation failure is very low.Based on a demonstration project of series hybrid buses in regular service, the possibility of increased electrification of public transport is discussed. The contribution of hybridisation is analysed through assessment of different types of driving conditions. Results show that significant improvements in energy efficiency can be achieved but, because actual and optimal driving conditions differ, there is a risk of overestimating the contribution.Sweden has set very ambitious national targets for its road transport system, i.e. to be fossil-fuel independent by 2030, and electrification is an important measure in reaching this goal. Given the magnitude of the challenge, it is not only the responsible thing to do; findings also show several advantages of introducing electric vehicles in the public sector first.
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