The variation of household attributes such as income, travel distance, age, household member, and education for different residential areas may generate different market penetration rates for plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). Residential areas with higher PHEV ownership could increase peak electric demand locally and require utilities to upgrade the electric distribution infrastructure even though the capacity of the regional power grid is under-utilized.

Estimating the future PHEV ownership distribution at the residential household level can help us understand the impact of PHEV fleet on power line congestion, transformer overload and other unforeseen problems at the local residential distribution network level. It can also help utilities manage the timing of recharging demand to maximize load factors and utilization of existing distribution resources.

This paper presents a multi agent-based simulation framework for 1) modeling spatial distribution of PHEV ownership at local residential household level, 2) discovering “PHEV hot zones” where PHEV ownership may quickly increase in the near future, and 3) estimating the impacts of the increasing PHEV ownership on the local electric distribution network with different charging strategies.

In this paper, we use Knox County, TN as a case study to show the simulation results of the agent-based model (ABM) framework. However, the framework can be easily applied to other local areas in the US....(Read more...)