Research / BFI Working PaperFeb 08, 2021

Low Energy: Estimating Electric Vehicle Electricity Use

Fiona Burlig, James Bushnell, David Rapson, Catherine Wolfram

We provide the first at-scale estimate of electric vehicle (EV) home charging. Previous estimates are either based on surveys that reach conflicting conclusions, or are extrapolated from a small, unrepresentative sample of households with dedicated EV meters. We combine billions of hourly electricity meter measurements with address-level EV registration records from California households. The average EV increases overall household load by 2.9 kilowatt-hours per day, less than half the amount assumed by state regulators. Our results imply that EVs travel 5,300 miles per year, under half of the US fleet average. This raises questions about transportation electrification for climate policy.

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