Human Dimensions of Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles in Boulder

Barbara C. Farhar Ph.D., Principal Investigator, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute, University of Colorado at Boulder


Please join us in hearing Dr. Barbara Farhar, the Principal Investigator for the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute, share results of her recently published electric vehicle – smart grid research. Dr. Farhar’s research explored the effect of feedback from the smart grid and other technologies on everyday plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHV) use . Toyota Motor Sales, Inc., sponsored the study and provided the University of Colorado with PHVs for a 2-year field-test. Of the 23,000 households in Boulder with smart meters, 142 of them volunteered to drive the 2010 Prius PHV for 9-week field tests.

Toyota’s interest was in performance of PHV’s would be affected by real-world driving of PHV’s in high altitude climates with mountainous terrain as part of a smart grid environment. In cooperation with the study, the utility installed smart plugs into the garages of the participants. The utility was interested in the potential impacts of PHV charging on the electricity grid. Other research findings crossed the spectrum from gas mileage and energy consumption to trip distance and the distance/time between charges. Audience members will have an opportunity for a Q&A and discussion of what this research might mean for electric vehicle use in the future.

Background Info

Dr. Barbara Farhar is a senior research associate at CU’s Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute. She has produced more than 240 publications and papers on the relevance of behavioral analysis to energy policy, strategic planning for federal research, public opinion about energy and environmental policy, energy efficiency R&D planning, and technology transfer. She has been published in Annual Review of Energy and the Environment, Public Opinion Quarterly, and Science. She has served on the board of the Colorado Renewable Energy Society and the American Solar Energy Society.

Power Point

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle Study