Synapse supports our clients in making sense of, predicting, and responding to the many changes happening in the transportation sector as they relate to energy and the environment. Our work focuses on four primary topics within the transportation sector: (1) transportation electrification; (2) fuel economy standards; (3) urban transportation; and (4) vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology.

Transportation Electrification

Synapse assists government agencies, consumer advocates, environmental stakeholders, utilities, and regulators prepare for the rapid electrification of our transportation system to maximize its benefits. Synapse analyzes transportation electrification policies, costs and benefits, employment impacts, rate impacts, emissions, grid integration issues, siting issues, and technical and economic potential. This work includes:

  • Evaluating the extent to which alternative rate designs encourage cost-effective adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) while encouraging charging behavior that minimizes costs to the grid
  • Accounting for transportation electrification in utility resource planning
  • Examining environmental and consumer costs and benefits of electrification
  • Using Synapse’s Electric Vehicle Regional Emissions and Demand Impacts (EV-REDI) tool, EnCompass, and other tools to evaluate emission impacts, costs and benefits, and system impacts of alternative EV penetration scenarios

In addition to the electrification of light-duty vehicles, Synapse helps our clients predict and analyze the future electrification of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. Because these vehicles have different characteristics than their light-duty counterparts in terms of ownership, available electrification technology, and use profiles, they face a separate set of challenges when attempting to meet electrification and emissions goals. Synapse is equipped to study and recommend solutions to these challenges. For example, EV-REDI has medium- and heavy-duty vehicle capabilities, and we have experience deriving the total cost-of-ownership for electric versions of these vehicles in comparison to vehicles with internal combustion engines.

Fuel Economy Standards

Synapse assesses regional and national impacts of vehicle fuel economy standard changes. This work includes:

  • Modeling employment and GDP impacts using IMPLAN (an economic input-output model)
  • Estimating the net cost of ownership savings from increased fuel economy standards
  • Analyzing the link between fuel economy standards and automobile safety

Urban Transportation

Developing sustainable and equitable transportation solutions to carbon reduction goals is one of the largest climate challenges that cities and towns face. Meeting these goals will require a suite of approaches, including transportation demand management, mode shifting, complete streets, and more. Synapse has a proven ability to put together and manage teams that are highly qualified to analyze urban transportation challenges. Our expertise in vehicle electrification and the broader energy sector, combined with our vast network of like-minded problem-solvers, positions us to tackle these challenges.

Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G)

V2G is an approach to demand response in which EVs communicate with the grid to reduce charging or inject electricity back to the grid during periods of high demand. We have analyzed utility proposals for V2G programs using electric school buses and have evaluated how electricity rate designs may interact with such programs. Our proven expertise in demand response and rate design allows us to predict the ways in which this emerging practice will impact the grid and provide a further benefit of vehicle electrification.