Vehicle electrification: petroleum independence, vehicle types, charging infrastructure, and CO2 reduction


Date Thursday August 20th 2009
Time 4:00-5:00pm
Venue George E. Pake Auditorium, PARC

PARC Forum

PLEASE NOTE: This PARC Forum will be followed by “The next cleantech blockbuster”, a panel discussion hosted by the Wharton Energy Network. Both events are free and open to the public.

A key element of General Motors’ Advanced Propulsion Technology Strategy is the electrification of the automobile and to remove the automobile from the environmental dialog. The objectives of this strategy are reduced dependence on petroleum-based fuels, reduced tailpipe emissions of greenhouse and other pollutants, and increased energy security/diversification. Continued improvements in internal combustion engine vehicles and powertrain efficiencies figure prominently in GM’s plans, as does an aggressive rollout of ethanol blended fuels. In addition, the introduction of hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) is another important first step in this strategy. With the introduction of Extended Range Electric Vehicles (EREVs) and Plug-in HEVs (PHEVs), electric grid energy displaces petroleum. This enables the potential for significant CO2 reductions as the CO2 per unit of electrical energy is reduced over time with the improving mix of energy sources for the electrical grid.

To determine future opportunities and direction, GM has studied the ability of PHEVs and EREVs to address societal challenges. The study evaluated real world representative driving datasets to understand actual vehicle usage. Vehicle simulations were conducted to evaluate the merits of PHEV and EREV configurations. To quantify the realizable reductions in transportation CO2 emissions, we consider several scenarios. We evaluate the CO2 reduction from the introduction of PHEVs and EREVs onto the existing power grid. We consider the impact of consumer behavior and the availability of charging infrastructure and the expected benefits based on vehicle operation. And finally we evaluate the CO2 reductions possible due to a combination of changes in the power grid and in vehicle stock over time.



John Suh is a member of staff at General Motors’ Advanced Technology Silicon Valley Office in Palo Alto. Prior to GM, he worked on RFID systems, wireless sensor networks, and MEMS-based optical switching. John was also a researcher at PARC in the Systems & Practices Lab.

John has a Ph.D. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Kettering University (formerly known as GMI Engineering & Management Institute). He holds 6 patents and is the author of various technical publications.

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