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Economic and ecological optimization of electric bus charging considering variable electricity prices and CO₂eq intensities

  • In many cities, diesel buses are being replaced by electric buses with the aim of reducing local emissions and thus improving air quality. The protection of the environment and the health of the population is the highest priority of our society. For the transport companies that operate these buses, not only ecological issues but also economic issues are of great importance. Due to the high purchase costs of electric buses compared to conventional buses, operators are forced to use electric vehicles in a targeted manner in order to ensure amortization over the service life of the vehicles. A compromise between ecology and economy must be found in order to both protect the environment and ensure economical operation of the buses. In this study, we present a new methodology for optimizing the vehicles’ charging time as a function of the parameters CO₂eq emissions and electricity costs. Based on recorded driving profiles in daily bus operation, the energy demands of conventional and electric buses are calculated for the passenger transportation in the city of Aachen in 2017. Different charging scenarios are defined to analyze the influence of the temporal variability of CO₂eq intensity and electricity price on the environmental impact and economy of the bus. For every individual day of a year, charging periods with the lowest and highest costs and emissions are identified and recommendations for daily bus operation are made. To enable both the ecological and economical operation of the bus, the parameters of electricity price and CO₂ are weighted differently, and several charging periods are proposed, taking into account the priorities previously set. A sensitivity analysis is carried out to evaluate the influence of selected parameters and to derive recommendations for improving the ecological and economic balance of the battery-powered electric vehicle. In all scenarios, the optimization of the charging period results in energy cost savings of a maximum of 13.6% compared to charging at a fixed electricity price. The savings potential of CO₂eq emissions is similar, at 14.9%. From an economic point of view, charging between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. results in the lowest energy costs on average. The CO₂eq intensity is also low in this period, but midday charging leads to the largest savings in CO₂eq emissions. From a life cycle perspective, the electric bus is not economically competitive with the conventional bus. However, from an ecological point of view, the electric bus saves on average 37.5% CO₂eq emissions over its service life compared to the diesel bus. The reduction potential is maximized if the electric vehicle exclusively consumes electricity from solar and wind power.

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Author:Matthias RuppORCiD, Christian Rieke, Nils Handschuh, Isabel KuperjansORCiD
Parent Title (English):Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment
Place of publication:Amsterdam
Document Type:Article
Year of Completion:2020
Date of the Publication (Server):2020/03/09
Issue:Article 102293
Institutes:FH Aachen / Fachbereich Energietechnik
FH Aachen / Nowum-Energy
collections:Verlag / Elsevier