What are the value and implications of two-car households for the electric car?
Journal article, 2017
The major barriers to a more widespread introduction of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) beyond early adopters are the limited range, charging limitations, and costly batteries. An important question is therefore where these effects can be most effectively mitigated. An optimization model is developed to estimate the potential for BEVs to replace one of the conventional cars in two-car households and to viably contribute to the households’ driving demand. It uses data from 1 to 3 months of simultaneous GPS logging of the movement patterns for both cars in 64 commuting Swedish two-car households in the Gothenburg region. The results show that, for home charging only, a flexible vehicle use strategy can considerably increase BEV driving and nearly eliminate the unfulfilled driving in the household due to the range and charging limitations with a small battery. The present value of this flexibility is estimated to be on average $6000–$7000 but varies considerably between households. With possible near-future prices for BEVs based on mass production cost estimates, this flexibility makes the total cost of ownership (TCO) for a BEV advantageous in almost all the investigated households compared to a conventional vehicle or a hybrid electric vehicle. Because of the ubiquity of multi-car households in developed economies, these families could be ideal candidates for the initial efforts to enhance BEV adoptions beyond the early adopters. The results of this research can inform the design and marketing of cheaper BEVs with small but enough range and contribute to increased knowledge and awareness of the suitability of BEVs in such households.
Total cost of ownership (TCO)
Car movement patterns
Battery electric vehicle