Kenniscentrum Techniek

Understanding Complexity in Charging Infrastructure through the Lens of Social Supply–Demand Systems


Since the first release of modern electric vehicles, researchers and policy makers have shown interest in the deployment and utilization of charging infrastructure. Despite the sheer volume of literature, limited attention has been paid to the characteristics and variance of charging behavior of EV users.

In this research, we answer the question: which scientific approaches can help us to understand the dynamics of charging behavior in charging infrastructures, in order to provide recommendations regarding a more effective deployment and utilization of these infrastructures. To do so, we propose a conceptual model for charging infrastructure as a social supply–demand system and apply complex system properties. Using this conceptual model, we estimate the rate complexity, using three developed ratios that relate to the (1) necessity of sharing resources, (2) probabilities of queuing, and (3) cascading impact of transactions on others. Based on a qualitative assessment of these ratios, we propose that public charging infrastructure can be characterized as a complex system. Based on our findings, we provide four recommendations to policy makers for taking efforts to reduce complexity during deployment and measure interactions between EV users using systemic metrics. We further point researchers and policy makers to agent-based simulation models that capture interactions between EV users and the use complex network analysis to reveal weak spots in charging networks or compare the charging infrastructure layouts of across cities worldwide.

Reference Helmus, J., Lees, M., & van den Hoed, R. (2022). Understanding Complexity in Charging Infrastructure through the Lens of Social Supply–Demand Systems. World Electric Vehicle Journal, 13(3), Article 44.
1 March 2022

Publication date

Mar 2022


Mike Lees
Robert van den Hoed


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