Battery vs. Infrastructure: Do Large Batteries Supersede Dense Charging Networks?

Research Highlights

- Short-range plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (18.8 kWh) have a substantial impact on the distribution grid (60% of fully electric cars)

- The relevance of a dense network of fast chargers substantially decreases with larger batteries



Battery capacities of electric vehicles and the density of fast charging facilities are interchangeable system parameters of electric mobility: Large batteries tend to reduce the need for a dense charging network, and, vice versa, a dense charging network can mitigate the shortcomings of smaller and chapter batteries. This battery-infrastructure tradeoff must be understood in order to allocate R&D resources, assess infrastructure investments, and to predict the requirements regarding a complex charging infrastructure in the light of improving batteries. The tradeoff also largely depends on the mobility profiles of car users, which prior research has included only to a limited extent.



Real-world GPS driving data from over 1,000 conventional vehicles and realistic energy consumption and charging models are applied to systematically compare meaningful electric mobility scenarios. The approach considers vehicle battery capacity variations and both private and public charging infrastructure configurations.



The results show that even with relatively small batteries (e.g., 18.8 kWh) and with charging opportunities limited to the home location, (plug-in hybrid) electric vehicles allow for a substantial electrification of mileage (on the order of 68-70% for the given battery) and thus considerably increase the electricity demand for vehicle charging. While both, battery capacity improvements and charging infrastructure expansions, increase electrically drivable travel distance, it is noteworthy that larger batteries considerably reduce the importance of public charging infrastructure measures.

Selected publications

Wenig, J., Sodenkamp, M., Staake, T. (2015) Data-based Assessment of Plug-in Electric Vehicle Driving. Lecture Notes in Computer Science (9424), pp. 115-126.


The research has been funded in part by the Technology Alliance of Upper Franconia (TAO), Germany.

Date: 2014 - 2018


Jürgen Wenig, Thorsten Staake, Mariya Sodenkamp 


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