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Is “smart charging” policy for electric vehicles worthwhile?


  • Lyon, Thomas P.
  • Michelin, Mark
  • Jongejan, Arie
  • Leahy, Thomas


Plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) offer the potential for both reducing reliance on oil and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. However, they may also increase the demand for electricity during peak periods, thereby requiring the construction of new generating units and increasing total costs to electricity consumers. We evaluate the economic costs and benefits of policies that shift charging demand from daytime to off-peak nighttime hours, using data for two different independent system operators and considering a number of sensitivity analyses. We find that the total savings from demand-shifting run into the billions of dollars, though as a percentage of total electricity costs they are quite small. The value of smart charging policy varies significantly across electric grids. Time-of-use pricing is worthwhile under all of the cases we study, but the economic benefits of optimal charging of electric vehicles do not appear to justify investing in the smart grid infrastructure required to implement real-time pricing.

Suggested Citation

  • Lyon, Thomas P. & Michelin, Mark & Jongejan, Arie & Leahy, Thomas, 2012. "Is “smart charging” policy for electric vehicles worthwhile?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 259-268.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:41:y:2012:i:c:p:259-268
    DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2011.10.045

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    2. Keller, Victor & English, Jeffrey & Fernandez, Julian & Wade, Cameron & Fowler, McKenzie & Scholtysik, Sven & Palmer-Wilson, Kevin & Donald, James & Robertson, Bryson & Wild, Peter & Crawford, Curran , 2019. "Electrification of road transportation with utility controlled charging: A case study for British Columbia with a 93% renewable electricity target," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 253(C), pages 1-1.
    3. Morsy Nour & José Pablo Chaves-Ávila & Gaber Magdy & Álvaro Sánchez-Miralles, 2020. "Review of Positive and Negative Impacts of Electric Vehicles Charging on Electric Power Systems," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 13(18), pages 1-34, September.
    4. Yong, Jia Ying & Ramachandaramurthy, Vigna K. & Tan, Kang Miao & Mithulananthan, N., 2015. "A review on the state-of-the-art technologies of electric vehicle, its impacts and prospects," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 365-385.
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    6. J. Javid, Roxana & Nejat, Ali & Hayhoe, Katharine, 2014. "Selection of CO2 mitigation strategies for road transportation in the United States using a multi-criteria approach," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 960-972.
    7. Armstrong, M. & El Hajj Moussa, C. & Adnot, J. & Galli, A. & Riviere, P., 2013. "Optimal recharging strategy for battery-switch stations for electric vehicles in France," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 569-582.
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    9. Bellekom, Sandra & Benders, René & Pelgröm, Steef & Moll, Henk, 2012. "Electric cars and wind energy: Two problems, one solution? A study to combine wind energy and electric cars in 2020 in The Netherlands," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 859-866.
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    12. Pol Olivella-Rosell & Roberto Villafafila-Robles & Andreas Sumper & Joan Bergas-Jané, 2015. "Probabilistic Agent-Based Model of Electric Vehicle Charging Demand to Analyse the Impact on Distribution Networks," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(5), pages 1-28, May.
    13. Bonges, Henry A. & Lusk, Anne C., 2016. "Addressing electric vehicle (EV) sales and range anxiety through parking layout, policy and regulation," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 63-73.
    14. Ji, Zhenya & Huang, Xueliang, 2018. "Plug-in electric vehicle charging infrastructure deployment of China towards 2020: Policies, methodologies, and challenges," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 710-727.
    15. Hu, Junjie & Morais, Hugo & Sousa, Tiago & Lind, Morten, 2016. "Electric vehicle fleet management in smart grids: A review of services, optimization and control aspects," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 1207-1226.
    16. Niels Leemput & Frederik Geth & Juan Van Roy & Pol Olivella-Rosell & Johan Driesen & Andreas Sumper, 2015. "MV and LV Residential Grid Impact of Combined Slow and Fast Charging of Electric Vehicles," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(3), pages 1-24, March.
    17. Crozier, Constance & Apostolopoulou, Dimitra & McCulloch, Malcolm, 2018. "Mitigating the impact of personal vehicle electrification: A power generation perspective," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 474-481.
    18. Szinai, Julia K. & Sheppard, Colin J.R. & Abhyankar, Nikit & Gopal, Anand R., 2020. "Reduced grid operating costs and renewable energy curtailment with electric vehicle charge management," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 136(C).
    19. Wei Gu & Haojun Yu & Wei Liu & Junpeng Zhu & Xiaohui Xu, 2013. "Demand Response and Economic Dispatch of Power Systems Considering Large-Scale Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles/Electric Vehicles (PHEVs/EVs): A Review," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(9), pages 1-24, August.
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