Economic and ecological optimization of electric bus charging considering variable electricity prices and CO2eq intensities

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, place - europe, technology - alternative fuels, technology - emissions, economics - capital costs, economics - operating costs


Battery electric vehicle, Electricity price, CO2 emissions, Charging strategy


In many cities, diesel buses are being replaced by electric buses with the aim of reducing local emissions and thus improving air quality. The protection of the environment and the health of the population is the highest priority of our society. For the transport companies that operate these buses, not only ecological issues but also economic issues are of great importance. Due to the high purchase costs of electric buses compared to conventional buses, operators are forced to use electric vehicles in a targeted manner in order to ensure amortization over the service life of the vehicles. A compromise between ecology and economy must be found in order to both protect the environment and ensure economical operation of the buses.

In this study, we present a new methodology for optimizing the vehicles’ charging time as a function of the parameters CO2eq emissions and electricity costs. Based on recorded driving profiles in daily bus operation, the energy demands of conventional and electric buses are calculated for the passenger transportation in the city of Aachen in 2017. Different charging scenarios are defined to analyze the influence of the temporal variability of CO2eq intensity and electricity price on the environmental impact and economy of the bus. For every individual day of a year, charging periods with the lowest and highest costs and emissions are identified and recommendations for daily bus operation are made. To enable both the ecological and economical operation of the bus, the parameters of electricity price and CO2 are weighted differently, and several charging periods are proposed, taking into account the priorities previously set. A sensitivity analysis is carried out to evaluate the influence of selected parameters and to derive recommendations for improving the ecological and economic balance of the battery-powered electric vehicle.

In all scenarios, the optimization of the charging period results in energy cost savings of a maximum of 13.6% compared to charging at a fixed electricity price. The savings potential of CO2eq emissions is similar, at 14.9%. From an economic point of view, charging between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. results in the lowest energy costs on average. The CO2eq intensity is also low in this period, but midday charging leads to the largest savings in CO2eq emissions. From a life cycle perspective, the electric bus is not economically competitive with the conventional bus. However, from an ecological point of view, the electric bus saves on average 37.5% CO2eq emissions over its service life compared to the diesel bus. The reduction potential is maximized if the electric vehicle exclusively consumes electricity from solar and wind power.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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