M. (Micha) Kahlen

RSM - Rotterdam School of Management
Erasmus University Rotterdam
ERIM Doctoral Student
Field: Logistics & Information Systems
Affiliated since 2013
Recent PhD graduate
Affiliated since 2013

Micha Kahlen is a PhD candidate in the Department of Technology and Operations Management at Rotterdam School of Management. The topic of his PhD project is ‘Aggregating Electric Cars to Sustainable Virtual Power Plants: The Value of Flexibility in Future Electricity Markets’. In his research he focuses on the integration of renewable energy sources into complex energy networks. More specifically he investigates the possibilities of using electric vehicles to balance the grid by smart charging and vehicle to grid applications. Micha did his bachelor in International Business Administration and his master in Business Information Management at Erasmus University Rotterdam. Before he started his PhD he worked as a business analyst for Capgemini.

: Virtual Power Plants of Electric Vehicles in Sustainable Smart Electricity Markets

The batteries of electric vehicles can be used as Virtual Power Plants to balance out frequency deviations in the electricity grid. Carsharing fleet owners have the options to charge an electric vehicle's battery, discharge an electric vehicle's battery, or keep an electric vehicle idle for potential rentals. Charging and discharging can be used to provide reliable operating reserves.

We develop an analytical model that manages carsharing fleets. On the one hand, the energy in the batteries of an electric vehicle can be made available to the grid as operating reserves. On the other hand, the electric vehicle can be made available for rental, where the location within the city matters: drivers want a car to be close to their place of departure or arrival. The model can also be used by Transportation Network Companies such as Uber to preposition their vehicles conveniently in a city or optimize zonal pricing.

To validate our model we develop a Discrete Event Simulation platform. We calibrate this simulation with locational information (GPS), rental, and charging transactions of 1,500 electric vehicles from the carsharing services Car2Go (Daimler) and DriveNow (BMW) over several years. We investigate the influence of the charging infrastructure density, battery technology, and rental demand for vehicles on the payoff for the carsharing operator and make an international comparison between the USA, Germany, the Netherlands, and Denmark. We show that Virtual Power Plants of electric vehicles create sustainable revenue streams for electric vehicle carsharing companies without compromising their rental business.

Auctions, Data Analytics, Decision Support Systems, Design Science, Electric Vehicles, Energy Informatics, Smart Markets, Sustainability, Virtual Power Plants
Time frame
2013 -


Visiting address

Office: Mandeville Building T09-07
Burgemeester Oudlaan 50
3062 PA Rotterdam

Postal address

Postbus 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam

Latest publication

Kahlen, M.T. (2017, September 15). Virtual Power Plants of Electric Vehicles in Sustainable Smart Electricity Markets. EUR (155 pag.). Prom./coprom.: prof.dr. W. Ketter & Prof.Dr. A. Gupta.

Supervisory team

Micha Kahlen
Professor of Next Generation Information Systems
Micha Kahlen
Alok Gupta