Understanding the Charging Flexibility of Shared Automated Electric Vehicle Fleets 2020-01-0941
The combined anticipated trends of vehicle sharing (ride-hailing), automated control, and powertrain electrification are poised to disrupt the current paradigm of predominately owner-driven gasoline vehicles with low levels of utilization. Shared, automated, electric vehicle (SAEV) fleets offer the potential for lower cost and emissions and have garnered significant interest among the research community. While promising, unmanaged operation of these fleets may lead to unintended negative consequences. One potentially unintended consequence is a high quantity of SAEVs charging during peak demand hours on the electric grid, potentially increasing the required generation capacity. This research explores the flexibility associated with charging loads demanded by SAEV fleets in response to servicing personal mobility travel demands. Travel demand is synthesized in four major United States metropolitan areas: Detroit, MI; Austin, TX; Washington, DC; and Miami, FL. In each of these four cities, SAEV simulations are performed using local projected electricity prices from the Regional Energy Deployment System (ReEDS) for a handful of supply side scenarios. A coordinated charging model is introduced that seeks to reduce fleet charging costs in response to time-varying electricity prices and increasing shares of personal trip demand served (between 1% and 25% of all metro trips served by the SAEV fleet). Simulation results are presented across various scenarios assuming fleetwide coordination to minimize charging energy costs while constrained by offering adequate mobility service to fleet customers. The results indicate that the SAEV charging load is highly flexible; energy costs were shown to reduce between 13% and 46% across a wide range of simulated scenarios. In addition, these savings were realized without detrimentally impacting the fleet’s ability to service trips.