Student Symposium with Guest Speakers Matthew Dean and Justin S. Davenport

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Smart Charging Decisions for a Fleet of Shared Autonomous Electric Vehicles (SAEVs)

Matthew Dean, NSF Graduate Research Fellow and PhD Candidate in the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin

Speaker Biography

Matthew Dean investigates the large-scale impacts of on-demand mobility, electric vehicles, and ride-sharing, as well as transportation and energy sector interdependencies. He has also examined pandemic effects on electric scooter demand and the reallocation of streets to support active transportation. His research has been published in Transportation Research Part D, Transportation Research Record, and Transport Geography. He holds a B.S. and M.S. in civil engineering.


Operations of on-demand shared autonomous electric vehicle (SAEV) or “self-driving taxi” service requires careful consideration of idle vehicle dispatch to lower customer wait times, empty travel, emissions, and operating costs. We compare vehicle dispatch strategies using a traffic simulation tool to show how smart charging can lower daily electricity costs by 15% and emissions damages by 3% (while serving more passengers than a price-agnostic strategy). Simulation results show the importance of fleet dispatch and charging in improving customer, fleet, and societal outcomes. The effect of electricity prices in shifting SAEV charging reveals policy recommendations to encourage more sustainable electrification of fleet vehicles.


Overcoming Barriers to New Interstate Transmission: Opportunities and Obstacles under Recent Legislation

Justin S. Davenport, JD Candidate, School of Law, The University of Texas at Austin

Speaker Biography

Justin Davenport is a third-year law student at the University of Texas. He is an Associate Editor for the Texas Law Review and a Staff Editor for the Texas Journal of Oil, Gas, and Energy Law. While in law school, he has researched and written about the legal hurdles surrounding new renewable energy development. His research focuses primarily on the barriers to building new interstate transmission infrastructure. He has also written about consumer protection issues in residential solar sales. He has worked as a summer associate and clerk in law firms that specialize in energy finance and development. Before studying law, he worked for over a decade in education. After graduation, he plans to work as an attorney in the renewable energy space.


To meet its goal of achieving net-zero emissions, and to slow the impact of climate change, the U.S. must rapidly build new sources of wind and solar energy. However, absent major improvements to the transmission grid, this will not be possible. The biggest barriers to constructing new transmission comes from (1) the lack of federal power in siting transmission lines and (2) the costs of the lines themselves. Recent legislation and policy changes may make it easier to solve both these problems. I have examined a patchwork of strategies that could help with transmission build out, but I ultimately will show how more expansive and targeted legislation could improve renewable development further.

Date and Time
Nov. 15, 2022, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.
In Person EER 3.646 or Stream Online (via Zoom or YouTube)
Event tags
UT Energy Symposium