Electric vehicles could significantly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and dependence on imported petroleum. However, for mass adoption, EV costs have historically been too high to be competitive with conventional vehicle options due to the high price of batteries, long refuel time, and a lack of charging infrastructure. A number of different technologies and business strategies have been proposed to address some of these cost and utility issues: battery leasing, battery fast-charging stations, battery swap stations, deployment of charge points for opportunity charging, etc.

In order to investigate these approaches and compare their merits on a consistent basis, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has developed a new techno-economic model. The model includes nine modules to examine the levelized cost per mile for various types of powertrain and business strategies. The various input parameters such as vehicle type, battery, gasoline, and electricity prices; battery cycle life; driving profile; and infrastructure costs can be varied. In this paper, we discuss the capabilities of the model; describe key modules; give examples of how various assumptions, powertrain configurations, and business strategies impact the cost to the end user; and show the vehicle’s levelized cost per mile sensitivity to seven major operational parameters...(Read more...)