Electric Vehicles in the Arctic (EVITA): Interactions with Cold Weather, Microgrids, People, and Policy
The Arctic is seeing increased interest in Electric vehicles (EV) adoption. This project will evaluate where, how, and for whom EVs can provide widespread benefits, and identify what might need to change to realize these benefits for Arctic communities. The performance of EVs in cold Arctic temperatures will be studied as well as how EVs will affect isolated rural power systems. The interdisciplinary project will also address how electric rates and public policies will affect EV adoption and use. The project's workforce development focus will benefit the communities and address a common barrier to EV adoption: local maintenance and repair. This project will bring together researchers, tribal community partners, electric utilities, and vocational programs in automotive technology in Kotzebue and Galena, Alaska, to answer the question of how EVs can be integrated in remote Arctic communities to improve resilience, provide cleaner, affordable mobility, and promote energy justice.
This project will conduct convergent engineering and social science research to address the unknown impacts of extreme cold weather on EVs, the impact of EVs on remote Arctic diesel microgrids, and the socio-economic conditions and policies needed to facilitate widespread, equitable use of EVs in rural Alaska to support the self-determination of underserved communities. Knowledge of the efficiency and performance of commercially available EVs in extremely cold climates will be advanced by collecting data, performing modeling and analysis, and publishing results for EVs operating in temperatures below -30 degrees Celsius, including off-road EVs. To learn how receptive rural Alaskans are to EVs, how EVs would integrate with use patterns and needs, and potential barriers to adoption, this project will apply the transportation acceptance model (TAM) to EV use in the two study communities. Novel research will be conducted on the impacts of EV charging on Arctic diesel microgrids and the impacts of policy choices on EV uptake and charging behavior in diesel microgrid communities. This project also brings together the University of Alaska Anchorage's (UAA) Community and Technical College Auto/Diesel Program, the Alaska Technical Center in Kotzebue, and the Galena City School District's Galena Interior Learning Academy to develop and deliver culturally appropriate and community responsive workforce development curricula tailored to EVs in rural Alaska.