Energy resources (Electrification, Hydrogen, and Alternatives)
The combination of technological advancements and thoughtful policy have catalyzed a shift towards alternative energy resources, such as electrification, for automobiles. Such a transition has the potential to meaningfully reduce emissions from the transportation sector. But to be effective, the public and private sectors must thoughtfully work together. This topic area explores how to continue the acceleration towards a fleet powered by alternative energy resources.
Barriers to adoption
As both industry and government continue to invest in shifting energy resources for our transportation system, we still face a rocky path. This sub-topic explores the following questions:
- What is the economic business case for making investments in electrification?
- What are the barriers to adoption of electric vehicles for the public? How do we overcome those barriers?
- What are barriers to adoption for the public sector? How do we over come those barriers?
Technological advancements across the transportation sector are changing what the industry needs from the workforce. While workforce needs are evolving across the mobility industry, vehicle electrification will catalyze the first meaningful shift. This sub-topic will explore the intersection of electrification and the workforce, studying the following questions:
- What skillsets will be needed in a shift towards electric? Which skillsets currently exist within the workforce? Which skill sets will we need to make meaningful investments in?
- What roles will be phased out of the industry? How do we best equip people within these roles with the skillsets necessary for new industry needs?
While there is clear consensus that we must shift away from fossil fuels to power our vehicles, investments have been made in variety of alternative fuel options, including electric batteries, hydrogen fuel cells, and other renewable energy options. Each fuel option boasts a suite of potential benefits, but each require different charging or refueling infrastructure. Differing fuel approaches may also be useful or desirable for different vehicle use cases. This subtopic explores:
- When and where do hydrogen fuel cells add the most value? Electric? Others?
- Should these be prioritized for specific duties (e.g. rural work trucks and aviation)?
- What investments need to be made to enable hydrogen? Electric? Others? Is there a potential to build out sufficient infrastructure to let the market determine preference?
- Historically we have used a single fueling infrastructure, and for the first time in a century we may need to bifurcate it. What are the costs and benefits of this approach?
Process and acceleration
A shift towards alternative fuels is a herculean task- and it will not happen all at once. To achieve our energy goals, we will need to consider differing modes- from personal automobiles, to buses, to delivery vehicles, to trucks- in addition to regional and city specific circumstances. This sub-topic seeks to define the process and approach to best meet our electric future. Key questions we will consider are:
- What is the current trajectory from a modal perspective? Does this align with the most desirable policy outcomes? What steps should policy makers take to ensure the most favorable outcomes?
- What is the current trajectory from a regional and city specific perspective? Does this align with the most desirable policy outcomes? What steps should policy makers take to ensure the most favorable outcomes?
- What are we seeing from consumer behavior? What are the demand models suggesting?