Shared mobility services, electric transportation, and autonomous vehicles will transform how people and freight move. The light-duty electric vehicle (EV) market is growing rapidly. Further behind on the adoption curve are zero-emission trucks and buses, as well as EVs used on ridehail services such as Lyft and Uber. New legislation and regulations in California make these fleets the next frontier in transportation electrification. However, additional policies, programs, and plans are needed to accelerate the transformation of public and private vehicle fleets to a zero-emissions future.

In 2018, to address policy and planning needs for the next generation of sustainable transportation, the Luskin Center for Innovation (LCI) launched its newest initiative: Sustainable Fleets & New Mobility. This undertaking builds on years of research informing clean vehicle policy, infrastructure planning, and low-income clean mobility incentive programs.

Supporting Electrification of Ridesharing Fleets

(Current and proposed projects)
Researchers: James Di Filippo and J.R. DeShazo

California Senate Bill 1014, passed in 2018, makes California the first state in the U.S. to regulate the GHG emissions produced by ride-hail vehicles. The bill requires transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft to account for and reduce the per-passenger-mile GHG emissions of trips taken through their service.

In support of California’s regulatory goals, LCI will analyze statewide and regional incentives that could spur greater use of EVs among ride-hail drivers. Research will focus on alternative policies that target fuel supply and fueling infrastructure, driver vehicle choice, and ride-hail platform operations.  This research is partially supported as part of a Climate Change Research partnership grant from the Strategic Growth Council as well as from a gift from the ClimateWorks Foundation.

Future research will provide siting guidance for the targeted deployment of fast-charging electric vehicle service equipment to fuel electric ride-hail vehicle fleets. Using data obtained through a partnership with Lyft, LCI will develop data-driven tools to predict the spatial distribution of charging demand by electric ride-hail vehicles in the Los Angeles Metro Area and recommend siting locations to optimally serve charging needs.

Grid Impacts from the Electrification of Transit Buses, Drayage Trucks, and Light-Duty Commuter Vehicles 

(2019 analysis part of the Transportation Electrification Blueprint for the County of L.A.)
Researchers: James Di Filippo, Bo Liu, and J.R. DeShazo

Maximizing public benefits of transportation electrification, as well as managing grid impacts (both positive and negative) requires careful infrastructure planning. Researchers from LCI collaborated with Los Angeles County Energy and Environmental Services and others to produce the County of Los Angeles Transportation Electrification Blueprint. The blueprint is focused on infrastructure planning to support the charging of electric vehicles, and the potential impacts that widespread transportation electrification will have on electrical distribution infrastructure in LA County.

LCI researchers contributed to the development of the blueprint by estimating the energy demands of: 1) battery electric transit buses, 2) battery electric heavy-duty drayage (port) trucks, and 3) electric commuter vehicles at workplaces, in order to meet goals established at a state, regional, and local level. The California Energy Commission supported this blueprint project.

Zero-Emission Drayage Trucks: Opportunities and Challenges for the San Pedro Bay Ports 

(2019 report)
Researchers: James Di Filippo, Colleen Callahan, and Naseem Golestani

Heavy-duty diesel truck traffic is the main source of toxic diesel particulate matter pollution and a major contributor to smog precursor and greenhouse gas emissions in California. Zero-emission alternatives to diesels, particularly battery electric trucks, are becoming commercially available.

This report examines both the need for and current state of zero-emission trucks and the barriers and opportunities involved in moving toward zero-emission drayage trucking for the adjacent Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Referred to as a the San Pedro Ports, they are the first and second largest ports by container volume in the U.S. The report then proposes a set of short-and-medium-term policies and strategies that address main barriers and opportunities, with a focus on the San Pedro Bay Ports.  The mayors of Long Beach and Los Angeles signed a joint executive directive confirming commitment to transition to a zero-emission freight transportation system. Their stated goal is: “zero emissions for drayage trucks serving the ports by 2035.” The authors describe why an accelerated transition in the 2020s could help achieve this goal while providing other benefits.

The report both incorporates findings from an earlier LCI supported study, called Charging Infrastructure Strategies: Maximizing the Deployment of Electric Drayage Trucks in Southern California, and serve as a foundation for future analyses that further support the transition to cleaner drayage trucking.

How to Ensure the Future of Self-Driving Cars 

(2017 article)
Authors: Gregory Pierce and J.R. DeShazo

Vehicle innovation that supports the co-equal goals of efficiency, equity, and environmental quality requires coordination across federal, state, and local policy. Without coherence in regulatory intent and implementation from federal to local government agencies, self-driving cars will repeat many of the shortcomings of the two largest surface transportation technology innovations in the last century: gasoline-powered cars and clean vehicles. This article by LCI scholars provides policy recommendations to prepare for the inevitable future of autonomous vehicles.