Charging Strategies to Minimize Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Electrified Delivery Vehicles

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Electrification of delivery fleets has emerged as an important opportunity to reduce the transportation sector’s environmental impact, including reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. When, where, and how vehicles are charged, however, impact the reduction potential. Not only does the carbon intensity of the grid vary across time and space, but charging decisions also influence battery degradation rates, resulting in more or less frequent battery replacement. Here, we propose a model that accounts for the spatial and temporal differences in charging emissions using marginal emission factors and degradation-induced differences in production emissions using a semi-empirical degradation model. We analyze four different charging strategies and demonstrate that a baseline charging scenario, in which a vehicle is fully charged immediately upon returning to a central depot, results in the highest emissions and employing alternative charging methods can reduce emissions by 8–37%. We show that when, where, and how batteries are charged also impact the total cost of ownership. Although the lowest cost and the lowest emitting charging strategies often align, the lowest cost deployment location for electric delivery vehicles may not be in the same location that maximizes environmental benefits.

Research Areas: 
electric vehicles
battery degradation
Publication Type: 
Journal Article
Environmental Science and Technology
Date Published: 
July 9, 2021
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Full Citation: 
Woody, Maxwell, Parth Vaishnav, Michael T. Craig, Geoffrey M. Lewis, and Gregory A. Keoleian. (2021) “Charging Strategies to Minimize Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Electrified Delivery Vehicles.” Environmental Science and Technology 55(14): 10108-10120.
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