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Thomas Turrentine
Associate Director, Energy Efficiency Center
Director, Plug-in Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Research Center (PH&EV)
Research Anthropologist, Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS-Davis)


Dr. Thomas Turrentine is Director of the California Energy Commission’s Plug-in Hybrid Electric & Vehicle Research Center at the Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis. For the past 20 years, he has been researching consumer response to alternative fuels, vehicle technologies, road systems, and policies with environmental benefits. His most recent work includes “Taking Charge”, California’s plan for electrification of transport, multi-year projects to study consumer use of the BMW MINI E, PRIUS PHEV conversions, the Nissan Leaf, and specially designed energy feedback displays in vehicles. In the coming years, his center will be working with several car companies and power utilities on purchase and use patterns of new electric and plug-in hybrids, developing tools to advise deployment of infrastructure, integration of plug in vehicles to California‚Äôs grid and ways to restructure the cost of lithium batteries.

He studies the role of travel and movement in the evolution of culture, society and lifestyle. He focuses on understanding automobile-based lifestyles, applying anthropological methods and theories to explore potential responses of car users to new technologies and policies aimed at mitigating the negative impacts of automobile infrastructure and use. He has studied consumer responses to electric vehicles, alternative fueled vehicles, micro-vehicles, station car systems, advanced traveler information, and other intelligent transportation systems. He also studies travel behavior and road systems in environmentally sensitive areas, focusing on Yosemite National Park and the Sierra Nevada region in California. He has a Ph.D. in Anthropology.