The role of charging and refuelling infrastructure in supporting zero-emission vehicle sales

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Widespread uptake of battery electric, plug-in hybrid, and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles (collectively zero-emissions vehicles or ZEVs) could help many regions achieve deep greenhouse gas mitigation goals. Using the case of Canada, this study investigates the extent to which increasing ZEV charging and refuelling availability may boost ZEV sales relative to other ZEV-supportive policies. We adapt a version of the Respondent-based Preferences and Constraints (REPAC) model using 2017 survey data from 1884 Canadian new vehicle-buyers to simulate the sales impacts of increasing electric vehicle charging access at home, work, public destinations, and on highways, as well as increasing hydrogen refuelling station access. REPAC is built from a stated preference choice model and represents constraints in supply and consumer awareness, as well as dynamics in ZEV policy out to 2030. Results suggest that new ZEV market share from 2020 to 2030 does not substantially benefit from increased infrastructure. Even when electric charging and hydrogen refuelling access are simulated to reach “universally” available levels by 2030, ZEV sales do not rise by more than 1.5 percentage points above the baseline trajectory. On the other hand, REPAC simulates ZEV market share rising as high as 30% by 2030 with strong ZEV-supportive policies, even without the addition of charging or refuelling infrastructure. These findings stem from low consumer valuation of infrastructure found in the stated preference model. Results suggest that achieving ambitious ZEV sale targets requires a comprehensive suite of policies beyond a focus on charging and refueling infrastructure.




Miele, A., Axsen, J., Wolinetz, M., Maine, E., & Long, Z. (2020). The role of charging and refuelling infrastructure in supporting zero-emission vehicle sales. Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, 81.

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