ARB Research Seminar

This page updated August 24, 2017

Examining Factors that Influence ZEV Sales in California

Photo of J. R. DeShazo, Ph.D.

J.R. DeShazo, Ph.D., Director, UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation, and Chair, Department of Public Policy, Luskin School of Public Affairs, University of California, Los Angeles.

September 12, 2017
Cal EPA Headquarters, 1001 "I" Street, Sacramento, CA

Research Project


Understanding the early development of the plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) market and identifying the determinants of its future growth are critical to achieving public policy goals for clean vehicle sales in California. This study examined consumer response to PEV market offerings and tested hypotheses about potential determinants of PEV sales over time and across locations in California using data models with a high degree of spatial and temporal resolution. Three types of explanatory factors were evaluated: (1) government policies such as vehicle purchase incentives; (2) market variables such as fuel price; and (3) factors that vary geographically such as household income.

PEV sales from 2010 to 2015 were tracked through monthly PEV registrations by census tract. Investigators analyzed this data to explore how the market evolved and describe the consumer response to purchase incentives. Standard statistical techniques were used to describe the correlation between PEV sales and geographically varying factors. To highlight variations in PEV market demand and describe how different types of household value different types of PEVs, logit models were applied to stated-preference survey data. Other analyses explored the relationship between PEV sales and changes in policy-influence variables such as PEV rebate levels.

The study team found that early PEV sales were concentrated in neighborhoods with higher socio-economic status and that these early-adopting neighborhoods continued to purchase PEVs at a higher rate than neighborhoods that adopted them later. Household income, housing value, and the presence of single family homes have a large and positive correlation with PEV sales. A neighborhood's proportion of multi-family homes exhibited a negative correlation with PEV sales. Regional PEV sales patterns were also seen: residents of the San Francisco Bay Area show a higher propensity to purchase battery electric vehicles (BEVs) relative to plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), while residents of the Los Angeles region exhibit the opposite propensity.

Policies designed to induce and support PEV purchases were found to be positively and significantly associated with higher PEVs sales. The state program that permits drivers of single-occupancy PEVs to access HOV (high occupancy vehicle) lanes (also referred to as carpool lanes) has a strong positive association with increased PEV sales in communities near HOV lanes. The Clean Vehicle Rebate Project that offers incentives for the purchase of eligible PEVs was also shown to be positively correlated with additional PEV sales, and rebate policy approaches that can enhance program cost-effectiveness and allocative equity were identified.

Speaker Biography

J. R. DeShazo, Ph.D., directs the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation and is the Chair of the Department of Public Policy in the Luskin School of Public Affairs, University of California, Los Angles. He holds joint appointments within UCLA's Institute of Environment and Sustainability as well as the Urban Planning and Civil and Environmental Engineering Departments. Dr. DeShazo's research has focused on the design and evaluation of renewable energy procurement and efficiency programs, household responses to energy policy incentives, the electrification of the transportation sector, and the performance of community choice energy/aggregators. He has advised the US Department of Energy, California Governor's Office of Planning and Research, California Public Utilities Commission, California Energy Commission, the California Air Resources Board, and various utilities including the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Southern California Edison, and Sonoma County, among others. He holds a Ph.D. in Urban Planning with a concentration in economics from Harvard University, a master's of science in Development Economics from Oxford University, St. Antony's College where he was also a Rhodes Scholar, and a bachelor's from the College of William and Mary.

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