How UC Davis leveraged telematics for vehicle research

 In Vehicle Research


Researcher: Gil Tal, Ph.D., Research Director, Plug-in Hybrid & Electric Vehicle (PH&EV) Research Center at Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis

Gil is a researcher and a faculty member at the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis. His work focuses on travel behavior and the implementation of travel behavior related policies. Gil is a leading scientist studying the demand for electric mobility and the derived demand for electric infrastructure. His work in the US, China, and elsewhere is focused on creating a knowledge-based policy process used by various stakeholders who are engaged in the 21st-century transportation revolution of electrified, shared, and autonomous mobility.


  • Transportation planning and policy
  • Electric vehicles
  • Shared mobility
  • Environmental planning
  • Travel behavior
  • Non-motorized transportation

The PH&EV Research Center launched in early 2007, with the support of the California Energy Commission’s allocation of Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) funds for transportation research. The Center collaborates closely with California utilities, automakers, regulators, and other research institutions such as the Electric Power Research Institute and Argonne National Lab on research aimed at developing a sustainable market for plug-in vehicles.

Project: Emerging technology zero emission vehicle household travel and refueling behavior

The project consists of an extensive survey of plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) owners across the state of California and an intensive, year-long data collection using vehicle loggers from a subset of these owners. The project aims to understand the day-to-day use of PEVs under real world, household conditions, and what barriers or drawbacks of PEVs are most important in preventing people from adopting them. This project will provide key information for policymakers to draw on in creating strategies that aim to increase PEV use and advance the transition to cleaner vehicles.

Project Objectives:

  • Determining the share of a ZEV’s (zero emissions vehicle) miles traveled powered exclusively by off-board
  • Understanding how any measure of eVMT develops within the overall travel of households
  • Learning the temporal charging patterns of ZEVs
  • Examining the motivation to plug in
  • Learning the refueling patterns of hydrogen-fueled vehicles
  • Studying PHEVs cold starts

Project Background:

California study with 3 components:

  1. Intro survey to recruit households statewide
  2. High-resolution on-board data collection of PEV and ICE vehicles in the selected household for 12 months
    1. PEV parameters: battery SOC/tank level, speed, RPM, GPS, charging level and kWh, etc.
    2. ICE parameters: speed, RPM, GPS, fuel economy variables, refueling
    3. 82 Households: 41 per phase
  3. Data Cleaning and Analysis

The role of FleetCarma’s C2 telematics device:

FleetCarma’s Vehicle Research Platform makes it possible to collect vehicle data and monitor study progress remotely. When it comes to vehicle research, the data collection process can be expensive and tedious. Not to mention, scaling-up your study size becomes next to impossible. That’s why we’ve made conducting research easier for automotive researchers, engineers, OEMs, and others.

By working with FleetCarma, Gil’s project was able to take advantage of our plug-and-play telematics device to collect the data needed – quickly and easily.

Project statistics:

  • 600 plug-in vehicles participated in the research
  • The study ran for 330 days, which means they have ~198,000 (600 x 330) days of data
  • The C2 supplied ~13 files per day, so 2,600,000 files over the project duration
  • There were ~600 rows of data per file, which equals ~1,560,000,000 rows by the end of the project
  • There were ~18 variables per row, which equaled ~28,000,000,000 raw data points by the end of the project

As you can see, the C2 captures a lot of data to provide vehicle research projects with the information they couldn’t easily capture otherwise.

The project is still underway, but if you would like to learn more about  Gil’s research with FleetCarma’s C2 device, watch the webinar we co-hosted with him, or visit the PH&EV Research Center website.


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