Authors: Susan Shaheen, PhD, Elliot Martin, and Hannah Totte
Date: January 2020
Reducing carbon emissions from the United States (U.S.) transportation sector has emerged as a priority action to combat climate change. Carsharing and zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) could be integral to creating a more sustainable transportation system. This paper presents the results of a study that evaluated the impacts of ZEV exposure on U.S. carsharing users. Surveys were administered to control and experimental groups of carsharing members that used shared PHEVs or EVs. Results showed that users who drove shared PHEVs or EVs more frequently were more likely to exhibit improved ZEV opinions. The population of respondents that used shared EVs and PHEVs were also more likely to recommend that others try driving a ZEV. The results suggest that exposure to PHEVs or EVs through carsharing increased a user’s reported likeliness to purchase a ZEV in the future. The experimental group, who employed shared PHEVs or EVs, was more likely to indicate that their next vehicle purchase will be a PHEV or EV than the control group. Collectively, the results suggest that temporary exposure to ZEVs through carsharing improves perceptions that may lead to an expanded ZEV market share.