Simulated Influence of Electric Vehicles on Traffic Flow and Analysis of Energy Consumption Using the Example of the City of Duisburg

Vehicles offer people many conveniences, but at the same time cause considerable problems, for example for the environment. Today, the electrification of the automobile is considered the best way to solve at least a large part of the environmental problems caused by motor vehicles. Apart from the fact that an electric powertrain produces no local emissions, it also differs from a conventional fossil-fuel powertrain in its propulsion dynamics. It is therefore also to be expected that electric vehicles will influence the flow of traffic due to their different dynamic properties. This thesis focuses on using microscopic traffic simulation to provide a first estimation of how the electrification of vehicles could change the traffic flow and to what extent different traffic situations would influence the fuel and energy consumption of vehicles.

In most microscopic traffic flow models, drivers and vehicles are modeled together by a combined model in one simulation object. By adjusting some parameter values, different combinations of driver and vehicle can be roughly distinguished. The values are determined on the basis of observational data of the traffic flow. However, the currently still small share of electric vehicles in road traffic and the fact that they look little different from combustion engine driven and hybrid vehicles make it difficult to collect data from electric vehicles in traffic flow, unless the data is collected in fleet tests. In this thesis, drivers and vehicles were modeled separately. The focus of this thesis is on the assessment of the influence of vehicle propulsion on traffic flow. Therefore, the model developed in this thesis was based on the physical capabilities of both the fossil-fuel powered and the electric powered vehicles. The driver model, which was also required, was created on the basis of data of human drivers, which were determined in an accompanying investigation of a driving simulator. Driver and vehicle model were combined again in the microscopic traffic simulation to a car-following model.

For observing the impact of electric vehicles on traffic flow and estimating energy consumption of vehicles, a traffic scenario of a part of the City of Duisburg was established. The effect of electric vehicles on traffic flow, as well as the effect of traffic density on fuel and energy consumption was studied based on this scenario.

The simulation results indicate that electric vehicles could raise the average speed of traffic flow to a certain degree, when traffic load and driving styles of the drivers remain the same. The increase of the share of electric vehicles has a positive effect on traffic efficiency. In situations with higher traffic density, energy consumption of electric vehicles is far superior to that of vehicles with internal combustion engine powertrains.

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Hu, X., 2021. Simulated Influence of Electric Vehicles on Traffic Flow and Analysis of Energy Consumption Using the Example of the City of Duisburg. https://doi.org/10.17185/duepublico/74086
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