Project Title: Energy and environmental impacts of electric vehicle adoption in Southeast Michigan

Faculty Sponsor: Seung-Jin Lee

Department: Earth and Resource Science/Computer Science, Engineering, Physics



Project Description: The purpose of this study is to assess the potential life-cycle energy and environmental impacts of a large-scale adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) from 2015 to 2025 in Southeast Michigan. These impacts will be simulated across several scenarios that incorporate factors such as improvements in fuel economy standards and changes in the electricity fuel mix. The results of the study will be used to provide policy recommendations that might be effective at determining the environmental costs and benefits of the adoption of EVs and also incentivize the need to increase the renewable energy portion of Michigan’s electricity grid. Ultimately, the overall goal is to inform transportation and energy policy, so that efforts to develop and improve EV technology and the electricity infrastructure are done in a sustainable manner.

Student Tasks & Responsibilities: Student will be involved in compiling and analyzing the existing energy and environmental inventories for production and use of electric vehicles and using those results to project results based on the scenario changes. He or she will also be involved in developing policy recommendations. Throughout the process, the student will learn about the process of life cycle assessment (LCA), the production of EVs and conventional vehicles, electricity generation and conventional fuels.

Minimum Qualifications: 

  1. Junior standing
  2. Proficient in MS Excel
  3. Major: Engineering, chemistry, biology or other STEM majors
  4. Comfortable with energy, mass and volume unit conversions
  5. Enthusiasm and interest in energy and environmental research