Optimal charging management and infrastructure planning for free-floating shared electric vehicles

Mohammad S. Roni, Zonggen Yi, John, G. Smart

October 2019 - Recently, major car-sharing service providers have begun to include electric vehicles (EVs) in free-floating car-sharing fleets. For these EVs, downtime due to charging, including time spent traveling to and waiting in queues at charging stations in a sparse charging infrastructure network, is a major barrier to sustainable operation. An intuitive solution to overcome this barrier is to increase the number of fast-charging stations in the fleet service area. This paper studies the relationship between fleet vehicle downtime and the number of charging stations by modeling the fleet operations of a major car-sharing service provider. An integer programming model is developed that jointly optimizes charging station allocation, in terms of the number and location of charging stations, and the assignment of EVs to charging stations. Case study results showed that fleet vehicle charging time comprises 72-75% of the total downtime spent on charging trips. This indicates that charging time, as opposed to travel time or waiting time, is the dominant component of total fleet downtime for charging. The study also shows that by adding 5 to 20 new charging stations reduces total fleet downtime and travel time during charging trips by 2-4% and 26-49%, respectively. Although adding new charging stations to the fleet service area reduces total charging trip travel time significantly, it does not reduce total downtime significantly. Results also show that if the EV battery state of the charge (SOC) threshold—below which a charging trip is initiated—is less than 18%, not all EVs in the car-sharing fleet can be charged using the existing direct current fast chargers (DCFCs) in the fleet’s service area. Furthermore, this implies that adequate charging infrastructure coverage is required to ensure that EVs of a given range can operate in the car-sharing fleet.

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