A corridor-centric approach to planning electric vehicle charging infrastructure

Yu Nie*, Mehrnaz Ghamami

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

154 Scopus citations

Abstract

The transition to electric vehicles (EV) faces two major barriers. On one hand, EV batteries are still expensive and limited by range, owing to the lack of technology breakthrough. On the other hand, the underdeveloped supporting infrastructure, particularly the lack of fast refueling facilities, makes EVs unsuitable for medium and long distance travel. The primary purpose of this study is to better understand these hurdles and to develop strategies to overcome them. To this end, a conceptual optimization model is proposed to analyze travel by EVs along a long corridor. The objective of the model is to select the battery size and charging capacity (in terms of both the charging power at each station and the number of stations needed along the corridor) to meet a given level of service in such a way that the total social cost is minimized. Two extensions of the base model are also considered. The first relaxes the assumption that the charging power at the stations is a continuous variable. The second variant considers battery swapping as an alternative to charging. Our analysis suggests that (1) the current paradigm of charging facility development that focuses on level 2 charging delivers poor level of service for long distance travel; (2) the level 3 charging method is necessary not only to achieve a reasonable level of service, but also to minimize the social cost; (3) investing on battery technology to reduce battery cost is likely to have larger impacts on reducing the charging cost; and (4) battery swapping promises high level of service, but it may not be socially optimal for a modest level of service, especially when the costs of constructing swapping and charging stations are close.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)172-190
Number of pages19
JournalTransportation Research Part B: Methodological
Volume57
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

Keywords

  • Battery swapping
  • Charging station
  • Corridor
  • Electric vehicles
  • Level of service

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Transportation

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