[IEEE Xplore] Readings on Smart Cities -- [Editorial] Vol. 2, Issue 6, June 2016

Electric Mobility for Smarter Cities

By Rosaldo J. F. Rossetti

Electric mobility is becoming one concrete alternative to minimise the impacts of heavy traffic in urban areas, mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and noise. Yet, this is still a very expensive solution and poses enormous challenges, both to private and to public mobility. Nonetheless, governments all over the world have embraced the electric mobility flag, implementing very attractive and generous subsidies for those who decide to adhere to this sort of green mobility paradigms. But the role of electric mobility in developing smarter cities and societies is still to be explored to its full potential. In this issue of Readings on Smart Cities, we have selected three articles to help us better understand the subject of electric mobility and its impact on the urban smartification process.

We start with the work by Tcholtchev and colleagues [1], who envisage the cross-fertilisation and mutual benefits of combining electric mobility and social networks to devise an enhanced sharing system relying on the inherent characteristics of electric vehicles. Authors propose an approach to realise a data cloud for handling electric mobility data, and suggest such data is the key enabler for services and business models around the notion of collaborative electric mobility. Prior to presenting their approach, authors motivate different scenarios for electric mobility in smart cities and discuss on the imperative need for the proposed data cloud. In the second article, Giesecke explores the electric mobility business as a typical innovation ecosystem [2]. However, for electric mobility to succeed from a business point of view, the author suggests important research questions calling for immediate attention, from industry, academia, and the government alike: ‘i) what actually is the electric mobility business ecosystem, which actors are involved already and which will be involved in the future; ii) what challenges keep the electric mobility from growing; and iii) which scientific theories are at researchers' disposal for studying the various challenges?’ Based on the review of various organisation theories and frameworks, the author proposes an initial agenda addressing these research needs. Finally, as the number of electric vehicles is expected to increase considerably, important challenges and concerns arise as for how such vehicles will impact the power grid efficiency. This is the topic addressed by Shuai, Maillé, and Pelov [3]. Authors suggest that electric vehicles can actively reinforce the development of smarter power grids if their charging processes are properly coordinated. In the light of a review carried out by the authors, economic models are overviewed, considering both unidirectional and bidirectional energy flows – the latter consider electric vehicles can temporarily provide energy to the grid. Authors also describe and compare main approaches, summarizing requirements and proposing a classification to highlight most important results and gaps to be bridged.

Although electric mobility may seem by now a very expensive technology, it is evolving very quickly as industry and the scientific community are dedicating a tremendous effort to overcome much of its current limitations. Electric vehicles are gaining considerable attention from society and are already a reality on urban networks. Very soon it will be stablished as an imperative component of the smartification process as its potential to generate new and disruptive business models will be finally and fully explored.

Good readings!


IEEE Xplore References (Access is complimentary to members of the IEEE Smart Cities Technical Community)

  1. N. Tcholtchev, L. Farid, F. Marienfeld, I. Schieferdecker, B. Dittwald and E. Lapi, "On the interplay of open data, cloud services and network providers towards electric mobility in smart cities," Local Computer Networks Workshops (LCN Workshops), 2012 IEEE 37th Conference on, Clearwater, FL, 2012, pp. 860-867.
  2. R. Giesecke, "The electric mobility business ecosystem," Ecological Vehicles and Renewable Energies (EVER), 2014 Ninth International Conference on, Monte-Carlo, 2014, pp. 1-13.
  3. W. Shuai, P. Maillé and A. Pelov, "Charging Electric Vehicles in the Smart City: A Survey of Economy-Driven Approaches," in IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems, vol. 17, no. 8, pp. 2089-2106, Aug. 2016.


Access to articles is complimentary to members of the IEEE Smart Cities Technical Community for a period of 30 days. Please subscribe to receive our selected articles each month via email.