Working Paper

Cost of electric commercial vans and pickup trucks in the United States through 2040

This paper presents a total cost of ownership assessment of battery-electric Class 2b and 3 commercial vehicles between 2020 and 2040 benchmarked against the corresponding costs of gasoline and diesel powertrains. While electrification has been slow to emerge in this area, the relatively low daily driving range compared to other commercial vehicle classes makes this sector prime for a technology shift to zero-emission technology in the coming years.

The analysis finds that over a five-year ownership period, the total cost of owning a battery electric van with an electric drive range of between 100 and 400 miles ranges from $69,000 to $92,000, compared to $71,000 for a gasoline van and $82,000 for a diesel van. For a battery electric pickup truck, the total costs of ownership over the same period costs $78,000–$107,000 compared to $78,000 for a gasoline pickup truck and $88,000 for a diesel pickup truck.

Projected reductions in battery prices through 2040 and increased regulation of the conventional market narrow the total cost of ownership gap significantly, and parity is achieved at varying rates for different range vehicles. Notably, nearly all 2b and 3 vehicles have a daily driving distance of less than 200 miles, putting electric 2b or 3 vehicles with this electric driving range in a suitable position for this technology transition. The total cost of ownership parity for electric vans and pickup trucks with a 200-mile range is already lower than a diesel version and by 2025, it will be cheaper than a gasoline version. Total cost of ownership parity for all battery-electric vans and pickup trucks with a higher range of up to 400 miles is achieved later, by 2035 for pickup trucks and 2032 for vans. Driven by significant reductions in fuel and maintenance costs, the total cost of ownership of all battery electric vehicles in the study reaches parity with conventional vehicles by 2035, based on a five-year duration for the first owner. However, plug-in hybrid vehicles are found to be economically unviable. Policies encouraging a wider variety of vehicle models to enter the market and ensuring the availability of a reliable charging network can help mitigate barriers to adoption and accelerate electric vehicle deployment.

Cost comparison EV vans and pickups

Total cost of ownership parity by vehicle technology. Points denote the year of crossover between BEV and ICE technologies.

Batteries and fuel cells