Charging operations in battery electric bus systems considering fleet size variability along the service

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, place - europe, infrastructure - maintainance, infrastructure - vehicle, infrastructure - fleet management, technology - alternative fuels, economics - capital costs, economics - operating costs


BEB, Opportunity charging, Overnight charging, Battery pack, Bus reliability


This paper analyzes the new operations induced by the energy range limitation in battery electric bus (BEB) systems to ensure the service provision along the whole day. An operating model has been developed to estimate the number of resources to be deployed (extra vehicles and charging facilities) for two charging schemes: charging at bus garage facility and opportunity charging at on-street chargers. Firstly, the model calculates the entrance and exit time of buses in service assuming an unlimited battery capacity, caused by demand and headway variations in different time periods along day. Then, based on the previous results, the model estimates the moment when vehicles will run out of energy and proposes a charging schedule as well as new vehicle movements between chargers, bus garage and routes to maintain the targeted headway. Consequently, the model is able to calculate the number of resources needed and the total cost for a given route and battery size, allowing cost and performance comparison to diesel and hybrid powertrains. The estimated results in two bus routes in Barcelona indicate that the purchasing cost of BEB vehicles (670,000 euros/veh for articulated, 500,000Euros/veh for standard vehicles, both depreciated over a lifetime of 15 years), battery packs (231 Euro/kWh purchased, depreciated over a lifetime of 10 years), as well as the investment in chargers, are still high to clearly justify their cost-competitiveness against diesel or hybrid counterparts. Nevertheless, if the acquisition cost of both vehicles and battery pack are only reduced by 9%, the BEB technology may present cost savings for transit agencies. It only happens if the fleet size is as large as the corresponding to diesel and hybrid technologies. Opportunity charging is resulted to be more cost- efficient than charging at bus garage for small battery packs, routes with acceptable time headway adherence and, specially, when fast chargers are located very close to terminal stops. Nevertheless, when the real bus route design and operation do not fulfill these standards, charging scheme at bus garage is preferable.


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


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