Socially optimal replacement of conventional with electric vehicles for the US household fleet

Eleftheria Kontou, Yafeng Yin, Zhenhong Lin, Fang He

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this study, a framework is proposed for minimizing the societal cost of replacing gas-powered household passenger cars with battery electric ones (BEVs). The societal cost consists of operational costs of heterogeneous driving patterns' cars, government investments for charging deployment, and monetized environmental externalities. The optimization framework determines the timeframe needed for conventional vehicles to be replaced with BEVs. It also determines the BEVs driving range during the planning timeframe, as well as the density of public chargers deployed on a linear transportation network over time. We leverage data sets that represent US household driving patterns, as well as the automobile and the energy markets, to apply the model. Results indicate that it takes 8 years for 80% of our conventional vehicle sample to be replaced with electric vehicles, under the base case scenario. The socially optimal all-electric driving range is 204 miles, with chargers placed every 172 miles on a linear corridor. All public chargers should be deployed at the beginning of the planning horizon to achieve greater savings over the years. Sensitivity analysis reveals that the timeframe for the socially optimal conversion of 80% of the sample varies from 6 to 12 years. The optimal decision variables are sensitive to battery pack and vehicle body cost, gasoline cost, the discount rate, and conventional vehicles' fuel economy. Faster conventional vehicle replacement is achieved when the gasoline cost increases, electricity cost decreases, and battery packs become cheaper over the years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)749-763
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Sustainable Transportation
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 26 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • All-electric driving range
  • battery electric vehicles (BEVs)
  • charging density
  • internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs)
  • vehicle replacement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Automotive Engineering
  • Transportation


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