Initiating Transitions: 2015-2030

What is required for early alternative fuel and vehicle transitions to succeed?

Motivation & Value:

Significant progress in alternative fuels and vehicles has been achieved over the past decades but none of the alternatives have reached mass-market scale.  We appear to be on the cusp of an initial transition for several new sustainable transportation technologies.  This research area aims to understand the potential and likely role of alternative fuels and vehicles over the next 15 years.  We examine technology progress, stakeholder roles, transition dynamics, commercialization strategies, and the role of policy in driving and supporting transitions during this critical period.

Key Research Questions:
  • What can we learn about the barriers and opportunities and the costs and benefits of introducing new fuels and vehicles?
  • How are vehicle rollouts proceeding for electric vehicles, natural gas, biofuels and hydrogen?  Which strategies are proving effective, and which are not?
  • What have we learned about the policy landscape for sustainable transportation?
  • How much public and private investment is needed to reach cost competitiveness with incumbents?
  • What values, thresholds, limits, or other indicators signal the need for change to investments, policies, or other behavioral levers?
  • What is required to develop a business case for new fuels and vehicles?
  • How does adoption of alternative fuels up to 2030 impact the outlook for meeting longer-term sustainability goals and realizing different sustainable transportation futures?

Leaders: Joan Ogden, Lew Fulton, Sonia Yeh, Amy Jaffe, Tom Turrentine, Andy Burke, Chris Yang, Ken Kurani

Recent White Paper: Strategies for Transitioning to Low-carbon Emission Trucks in the U.S.