EV Explorer utilizes fueleconomy.gov‘s database of more than 34,000 vehicles in conjunction with Google Maps to allow users to compare commuting costs of a PEV with those of any other vehicle. Through a step-by-step process, users select a start location and a destination, and specify how often they travel between those points. A chart is then produced that shows the annual gasoline and electricity fuel costs of the commute.
The EV Explorer is designed with flexibility in mind. Users can change the vehicles to compare frequency of travel, estimated miles per gallon, price of gasoline and electricity, and many other variables in order to create side-by-side comparisons of up to four different EV models.
Models range from all-electrics, such as the Nissan Leaf, to gas-electric hybrids such as the Toyota Prius. Operating costs also can be compared with the projected costs of driving conventional-fuel vehicles.
Future versions of the website aim to calculate not only the personal costs of commuting in a plug-in electric vehicle, but the lifetime costs of ownership by factoring in retail prices and insurance rates, and by accumulating trips and different routes.
The EV Explorer project was conceived as a UC Davis project to provide charger planning tools for Metropolitan Planning Organizations, which are responsible for transportation planning in the nation’s metropolitan areas. After conducting interviews, it became clear that they desired not only tools to plan EV infrastructure, but also ones that their constituents could utilize directly. The EV Explorer project is funded by the California Energy Commission in association with the California Center for Sustainable Communities.
EV Explorer can be accessed at http://gis.its.ucdavis.edu/evexplorer/.