Electrification of the two-car household: PHEV or BEV?
Journal article, 2017

In previous works, we have shown two-car households to be better suited than one-car households for leveraging the potential benefits of the battery electric vehicle (BEV), both when the BEV simply replaces the second car and when it is used optimally in combination with a conventional car to overcome the BEV’s range limitation and increase its utilization. Based on a set of GPS-measured car movement data from 64 two-car households in Sweden, we here assess the potential electric driving of a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) in a two-car household and compare the resulting economic viability and potential fuel substitution to that of a BEV. Using estimates of near-term mass production costs, our results suggest that, for Swedish twocar households, the PHEV in general should have a higher total cost of ownership than the BEV, provided the use of the BEV is optimized. However, the PHEV will increasingly be favored if, for example, drivers cannot or do not want to optimize usage. In addition, the PHEV and the BEV are not perfect substitutes. The PHEV may be favored if drivers require that the vehicle be able to satisfy all driving needs (i.e., if drivers don’t accept the range and charge-time restrictions of the BEV) or if drivers requires an even larger battery in the BEV to counter range anxiety. We find that, given a particular usage strategy, the electric drive fraction (EDF) of the vehicle fleet is less dependent on whether PHEVs or BEVs are used to replace one of the conventional cars in two-car households. Instead, the EDF depends more on the usage strategy, i.e., on whether the PHEV/BEV is used to replace the conventional car with the higher annual mileage (“the first car”), the less used car (“the second car”), or is used flexibly to substitute for either in order to optimize use. For example, from a fuel replacement perspective it is often better to replace the first car with a PHEV than to replace the second with a BEV.

Two-car household






Lars Henrik Björnsson

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. 85 363-376

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Innovation and entrepreneurship

Areas of Advance



Subject Categories

Transport Systems and Logistics

Vehicle Engineering

Energy Systems



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