Working Paper

Infrastructure to support a 100% zero-emission tractor-trailer fleet in the United States by 2040

This analysis estimates the number of charging points and hydrogen refueling stations needed to enable the transition to 100 percent sales of zero-emission Class 7 and Class 8 tractor-trailers by 2040 in the United States.

By 2030, approximately 127,000 charging points and 220 hydrogen refueling stations will be necessary to support a fleet of 103,000 zero-emission tractor-trailers. The cumulative investment needed to install publicly available infrastructure is $6.4 billion, beginning in 2021. Of 32,000 publicly accessible chargers, 14,000 will require a charging speed of 350 kW or greater.

By 2050, the network of national charging points will need to support a fleet of 2.4 million zero-emission tractor-trailers. This will require 2.5 million charging points and 6,900 hydrogen fueling stations, while the cumulative investment in publicly accessible infrastructure will need to equal approximately $122 billion.

Most of the investments required will need to satisfy overnight charging needs. Most of these chargers will be installed in privately owned and operated depots, meaning public access to these chargers will be limited. The cumulative private investment in this depot charging infrastructure will amount to approximately $116 billion through 2050. Overnight chargers at publicly accessible truck stops by 2050 would require a cumulative investment of approximately $20 billion.

Due to the nature of long-distance operations of Class 7 and Class 8 tractor-trailers, overnight chargers alone will not be sufficient to satisfy the charging needs of the fleet. Publicly accessible fast chargers at trucks stops with power levels of up to 1 MW will be required. The cumulative infrastructure investment to 2050 on these 350 kW and 1MW chargers represents $76 billion. For the longest-range tractor-trailers, that is those traveling more than 650 miles per day, a network of hydrogen refueling stations at a cumulative cost of $26 billion, or 21% of the total, may be necessary, although we project just 12% of the fleet would utilize them.

Public investment in this infrastructure will accelerate its deployment. Most of the estimated investment cost, particularly after 2030, can come from the private sector. However, government incentives for the purchase and installation of infrastructure, as well as public guarantees along critical corridors, will jump start the deployment of this infrastructure before 2030. The sooner this support arrives, the faster the market for zero-emission tractor-trailers will develop.