Driving Cleaner Air in the Tennessee Valley

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EPRI Study: Driving EVs and Off-Road Electric Equipment Could Improve Air Quality

By 2030, deployment of electric vehicles and off-road electric equipment can lead to modest, but widespread, emissions reductions and air quality improvements in the service area of Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), according to an EPRI study.

Using an EPRI model and TVA market data, researchers projected that in 2030, electric vehicles would account for 9% of vehicle miles in the TVA region, and various types of electric off-road equipment would capture market share ranging from 17% to 85%. Based on this, they modeled the impacts on air quality and emissions. Main findings:

  • Ozone decreases across the region, including reductions of up to 1 part per billion in urban areas. This is significant given the stringency of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.
  • Nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions decrease by 3%, with 44% of the reduction coming from off-road electrification.
  • Volatile organic compound emissions decrease by 5%, with 65% of the reduction coming from off-road electrification.
  • Particulate matter emissions decrease by 1%, mainly in urban areas and along interstates in eastern Tennessee, with 79% of the reduction coming from off-road electrification.

Electrification more extensive than that modeled in the study could reduce emissions more significantly. The TVA results mirror those of a 2015 EPRI-Natural Resources Defense Council study that quantified nationwide air quality benefits from increased vehicle electrification.

Artwork by Kirk Anderson