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Open Research Questions

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In addressing True Decommissioning, it is clear that a large number of research questions have come up, many of which are unanswered. We have provided a table of questions in the Appendix that is far from exhaustive. If you are working in this space, we invite you to reach out and let us know if you have made progress in the areas we have listed or are working on related research questions that we have not listed.

Table 1: Unanswered Research Questions for True Decommissioning

Engage Stakeholders

Evaluate Economic Costs and Benefits Understand Current and Future Policies
  • Who are the stakeholders in True Decommissioning andhow do they interact?
  • What are the LDV needs and constraints of stakeholders? Especially interested in equity, what are the needs of low-income communities and communities of color? *
  • What are adequate alternatives for LDVs that areaffordable? ♤
  • How to improve access to ICE LDV alternatives? (marketing, advertisement, infrastructure, etc.) ϐ
  • What are the barriers to ZE LDVs? *
  • What are the most equitable mechanisms and incentives to help make ZE LDVs accessible to low income communities? *
  • Are alternatives (public transportation, micromobility, etc.) actually better options? In what locations?
  • Which ICE LDVs should we target first for removal? What metric(s) to consider when deciding on removal? This may include age of car, level of use, number of miles, who is the owner, and what is the primary household use of the vehicle.
  • How will the supporting industries be affected by decommissioning and how can they best adapt? I.e. mechanics, dealerships, used car markets, manufacturers, gas station owners
  • What are environmental justice implications of manufacturing ZE LDV parts abroad and what are the geopolitical and pollution implications of increasing production? Δ
  • What is the economic value of the current ICE fleet in the US? +
  • What is the cost to decommission ICE LDVs in CA? + In the US? In the world?
  • How does the cost of manufacturing ZE LDVs and putting them on the road compare to leaving ICE LDVs on the road?
  • What is the cost to scrap all ICE LDVs on the road?
  • What is the cost to convert a massive amount of ICE LDVs to ZE LDVs? Who is already working on this?
  • How will ZE LDV financing change as battery costs decrease?
  • Who owns what kind of LDV and is it possible for owners of older ICE LDVs to find an alternative? How should financial incentives be equitably distributed to help owners find an alternative to ICE LDVs?
  • Is LDV ownership and GDP/economic growth correlated? Causal? Instead of “car aid” can we be sending aid to build a clean transportation network? Especially if we stop importing used ICE LDVs?
  • How does battery recycling and the circular economy affect the economics of decommissioning?
  • How will increasing the ZE LDV market influence the market for other renewable energy sources in terms of cost and supply chain?
  • How will the gas tax be replaced if the fleet is electrified?
  • What kinds of policies and programs exist that address equity in decommissioning? Δ
  • For new policies and programs, how can we measure equitable outcomes? Ensure effectiveness?
  • What types of programs to buy ZE LDVs will be most effective for different groups of the population (rebates, grants, tax credits, carpool lane stickers, others)? *
  • Who is benefiting now from LDV-related policies? Who should benefit from these policies? How can we measure equity?
  • What are the goals of programs that are put in place and how do those goals drive different outcomes (i.e. increase ZE LDVs on the road, lower GHG emissions, etc.) ? ^
  • What complementary policies are needed to ensure ZE LDVs are being charged with clean energy from the grid? How does decommissioning affect traffic congestion and what kind of policies are needed to transition to clean LDV mobility? ^
  • What is the effect of carpool lane benefits if everyone drives a ZE LDV?
  • How can we ensure the transition to ZE LDVs does not hinder emergency situations (i.e. hospital trips, wildland fire evacuations)
  • How can we use policies to drive a system approach to clean mobility for all - cooperate between regional, state, and national governments?
  • What are the national security issues that arise if we decommission ICE LDVs and electrify the LDV fleet in the US?
  • What are the tradeoffs between allowing used ICE LDVs to be sold in developing countries vs. keeping them in-country and recycling the parts?

* We are studying this question through stakeholder interviews in Sonoma County (conducting interviews in summer 2021).

ϐ We are studying this question in the context of California's Clean Cars for All program.

♤ We are studying this question by analyzing data from California's Clean Cars for All program.

Δ We are studying this question through a literature review and in the context of California’s Clean Cars for All program.

+ We are studying this question for Sonoma County through data analysis of records from the DMV.

^ We are studying this question through modeling.