Online mechanism design for electric vehicle charging

Enrico H. Gerding, Valentin Robu, Sebastian Stein, David C. Parkes, Alex Rogers, Nicholas R. Jennings

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

101 Citations (Scopus)


Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles are expected to place a considerable strain on local electricity distribution networks, requiring charging to be coordinated in order to accommodate capacity constraints. We design a novel online auction protocol for this problem, wherein vehicle owners use agents to bid for power and also state time windows in which a vehicle is available for charging. This is a multi-dimensional mechanism design domain, with owners having non-increasing marginal valuations for each subsequent unit of electricity. In our design, we couple a greedy allocation algorithm with the occasional "burning" of allocated power, leaving it unallocated, in order to adjust an allocation and achieve monotonicity and thus truthfulness. We consider two variations: burning at each time step or on-departure. Both mechanisms are evaluated in depth, using data from a real-world trial of electric vehicles in the UK to simulate system dynamics and valuations. The mechanisms provide higher allocative efficiency than a fixed price system, are almost competitive with a standard scheduling heuristic which assumes non-strategic agents, and can sustain a substantially larger number of vehicles at the same per-owner fuel cost saving than a simple random scheme.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication10th International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems 2011, AAMAS 2011
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)0982657161
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Electric vehicle
  • Mechanism design
  • Pricing


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