Are multi-car households better suited for battery electric vehicles? - Driving patterns and economics in Sweden and Germany
Journal article, 2016

Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) could reduce CO2 emissions from the transport sector but their limited electric driving range diminishes their utility to users. The effect of the limited driving range can be reduced in multi-car households where users could choose between a BEV and a conventional car for long-distance travel. However, to what extent the driving patterns of different cars in a multi-car household’s suit the characteristics of a BEV needs further analysis. In this paper we analyse the probability of daily driving above a fixed threshold for conventional cars in current Swedish and German car driving data. We find second cars in multi-car households to require less adaptation and to be better suited for BEV adoption compared to first cars in multi-car households as well as to cars in single-car households. Specifically, the share of second cars that could fulfil all their driving is 20 percentage points higher compared to first cars and cars from single-car households. This result is stable against variation of driving range and of the tolerated number of days requiring adaptation. Furthermore, the range needed to cover all driving needs for about 70% of the vehicles is only 220 km for second cars compared to 390 km for the average car. We can further confirm that second cars have higher market viability from a total cost of ownership perspective. Here, the second cars achieve a 10 percentage points higher market share compared to first cars, and to cars in single-car households for Swedish economic conditions, while for Germany the corresponding figure is 2 percentage points. Our results are important for understanding the market viability of current and near-future BEVs.

Driving pattern

Multi-car households

Battery electric vehicles


Niklas Jakobsson

Chalmers, Energy and Environment, Physical Resource Theory

Till Gnann

Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI

Patrick Plötz

Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI

Frances Sprei

Chalmers, Energy and Environment, Physical Resource Theory

Sten Karlsson

Chalmers, Energy and Environment, Physical Resource Theory

Transportation Research, Part C: Emerging Technologies

0968-090X (ISSN)

Vol. 65 1-15

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Areas of Advance


Subject Categories

Transport Systems and Logistics



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