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Socio-technical experiences from electric vehicle utilisation in commercial fleets
KTH, School of Chemical Science and Engineering (CHE), Chemical Engineering and Technology, Energy Processes.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1691-091X
Linköpings Universitet.
KTH, School of Chemical Science and Engineering (CHE), Chemical Engineering and Technology, Energy Processes.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0635-7372
2014 (English)In: Applied Energy, ISSN 0306-2619, E-ISSN 1872-9118, Vol. 123, 82-93 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Commercial vehicle fleets are in many ways an attractive entry for electric vehicles into the transport system. In total, 174 electric vehicles have operated in commercial vehicle fleets and gathered socio-technical data over a period of 18 months, resulting in 302,000 all electric kilometres. This paper presents two perspectives regarding electric vehicle operations in commercial vehicle fleets - the functionality perspective, illustrated by the vehicle actions, and the user perspective that addresses the implementation of the task. The socio-technical analysis has resulted in four major findings. With time, the overall usage and the driving distance between charging occasions increase. It is not the passage of time that has influenced this behaviour but it may be explained as the result of accumulated experience. Swedish winter conditions show regression in usage, foremost due to users not familiar with the range reduction caused by the heating system. The need for public charging has been shown to be modest, which in an introductory phase with limited development of charging infrastructure, makes commercial vehicle fleets favourable to electrify over private vehicle fleets. According to deployment strategy, the different user groups' ability to incorporate the electric vehicles in their daily activities has been explored and this paper shows large potential for substituting traditional internal combustion engine vehicles within commercial vehicle fleets. Electric vehicles have been made available through a technology procurement scheme and have generated both kilometres and experience, which has come to increase the understanding of the usage of electric vehicles in commercial vehicle fleets.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 123, 82-93 p.
Keyword [en]
Battery electric vehicles, Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, Socio-technical approach, Technology procurement
National Category
Other Chemical Engineering
Research subject
Chemical Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-145250DOI: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2014.02.051ISI: 000336017400010Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84896034694OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-145250DiVA: diva2:717348
Funder
Swedish Energy Agency
Note

QC 20140612

Available from: 2014-05-14 Created: 2014-05-14 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Electric vehicles in action
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Electric vehicles in action
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis analyses the political and practical conditions for introducing electric vehicles in Swedish public authorites and discusses the potential for using electric vehicles in public transport and public fleets. The work has been carried out using an interdisciplinary research approach. Such an approach brings new insights to energy studies; the combination of technical methods and methods from social science allows the technology to be studied in its societal context.

Local self-government enables Swedish public authorities to implement local solutions in order to achieve national policy goals. However, the results show that for energy and transport policy a clear allocation of responsibilities between local and regional levels is lacking – and this clarity is also lacking between the different policy areas. The lack of policy integration implies a risk that local policy development can miss the mark when it comes to the overall policy goal. Furthermore, findings show that so-called policy entrepreneurs can succeed in putting electric vehicles on the political agenda, and they can enforce decisions and deploy the vehicles within the public bodies.

The usage of plug-in electric vehicles in public fleets has been studied using (among other sources) logbooks, interviews, questionnaires and focus groups. Findings demonstrate a great potential to introduce plug-in electric vehicles through fleets. Although the usage varied slightly during the year, and winter conditions implied a general reduction in use, the results show that the deployment strategy is a central factor for the extent of the vehicle usage. Vehicles that are assigned a certain user or a specific task show a high degree of utilisation. Even though plug-in electric vehicles available through car-pools have a large potential group of users, the options also implies that users can instead choose a conventional vehicle. However, interventions to increase usage have proven to be successful. Policy entrepreneurial actions attract new users and revising organisational regulations, i.e. vehicle or environmental policies, shapes new behaviours. In this study, fleet vehicle users have proven to be relative indifferent to which fuel or technology they use, but acceptance for operation failure is very low.

Based on a demonstration project of series hybrid buses in regular service, the possibility of increased electrification of public transport is discussed. The contribution of hybridisation is analysed through assessment of different types of driving conditions. Results show that significant improvements in energy efficiency can be achieved but, because actual and optimal driving conditions differ, there is a risk of overestimating the contribution.

Sweden has set very ambitious national targets for its road transport system, i.e. to be fossil-fuel independent by 2030, and electrification is an important measure in reaching this goal. Given the magnitude of the challenge, it is not only the responsible thing to do; findings also show several advantages of introducing electric vehicles in the public sector first. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2015. x, 71 p.
Series
TRITA-CHE-Report, ISSN 1654-1081 ; 2015:50
Keyword
electric vehicles, interdisciplinary approach, public fleets, public transport
National Category
Chemical Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-173647 (URN)978-91-7595-689-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-10-09, Kollegiesalen, Brinellvägen 8, KTH, Stockholm, 13:30 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Swedish Energy Agency
Note

QC 20150916

Available from: 2015-09-16 Created: 2015-09-16 Last updated: 2015-09-16Bibliographically approved

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Wikström, MartinaAlvfors, Per

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