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The Effect of Electric Car Adoption on Travel Patterns

Craig Morton (Loughborough University, UK)

Electrifying Mobility: Realising a Sustainable Future for the Car

ISBN: 978-1-83982-635-1, eISBN: 978-1-83982-634-4

Publication date: 17 October 2022


This chapter provides a reflective commentary on how the transition to electric vehicles (EVs) may alter how society uses cars through an inspection of evidence from the studies which have examined the impact of EV adoption on trip patterns. A framework for evaluating trip patterns is applied which considers how the adoption of an EV could generate impacts for the spatial distribution of car trips, when these trips occur, the journey purpose these trips serve, and the driving style in which the trips are conducted. It is identified that the principal issue which is likely to motivate alterations in trip patterns following a transition to EVs is the technical and regulatory differences which distinguish them from conventional vehicles. Spatial trip patterns could become anchored to the burgeoning chargepoint infrastructures, with network coverage having implications for where EVs will be seen. Changing seasons could reduce the range of the battery packs, limiting the useability of EVs in winter months. Low operating costs of EVs may encourage their use for short distance trips due to a feeling of guilt-free travel. Eco-driving functions of EVs could promote sustainable driving practices by gamifying energy efficiency though the introduction of targets, medals, and leader boards. It is concluded that the exact manner in which trip patterns will be altered by the transition to EVs is difficult to predict with clarity, with many alternative futures being conceivable. In part, the impact on trip patterns will be contingent on whether or not EVs start to look and feel like conventional cars as the technology matures.



Morton, C. (2022), "The Effect of Electric Car Adoption on Travel Patterns", Parkhurst, G. and Clayton, W. (Ed.) Electrifying Mobility: Realising a Sustainable Future for the Car (Transport and Sustainability, Vol. 15), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 119-133.



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