New York Times: "We May Not Be Ready for an All-EV World"

A well-read opinion column about the role of hybrid vehicles in a decarbonizing transportation sector includes insights from RFF Fellow Nafisa Lohawala.

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July 14, 2023

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New York Times

For another perspective, I exchanged emails with Nafisa Lohawala, a PhD economist who is a fellow at Resources for the Future, a think tank. She focused on the benefits of plug-in hybrids, which use less metal than all-electric EVs but more than non-pluggable hybrids. “From consumers’ perspective,” she wrote, “having a gasoline backup helps alleviate range anxiety, allowing them to adopt plug-in hybrids even when the charging network around them is sparse. Moreover, given their lower price, middle- and low-income communities would also find adopting them easier than battery electric vehicles.”

Lohawala wrote that if drivers recharge their plug-in hybrids frequently, they’ll be able to run on battery power almost all the time and emissions will be almost as low as with an all-electric EV. That will tend to happen as more charging stations with faster chargers are installed. “As long as the battery ranges of plug-in hybrids are reasonably long and the electricity prices are low, consumers would voluntarily charge them rather than relying on gasoline,” she wrote. (That would only work for short trips, though.)

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