Working Paper

A meta-study of purchase costs for zero-emission trucks

This study reviews recent literature on current and projected battery-electric and hydrogen fuel cell tractor truck costs. In the available literature, battery-electric tractor truck up-front costs range from about $200,000 to $800,000, and generally costs increase with increased driving range as a function of total battery capacity. The range of fuel cell truck costs in these same studies spanned from roughly $200,000 to $600,000. At present, electric propulsion systems for zero-emission tractor trucks make up roughly 85% to 90% of total truck costs, but this is expected to fall to 75% to 85% as battery pack and fuel cell system costs are estimated to drop by 50% and 65%, respectively, over the next decade.

For battery-electric trucks, a Ricardo Strategic Consulting study commissioned by the ICCT estimates that the 600kWh battery pack makes up roughly 60% of the total vehicle cost, not including manufacturer’s indirect costs and profit markup. The entire electric propulsion system, including the battery pack and the power electronics, is estimated to account for 85% percent of vehicle costs in 2020. Ricardo projects that the combined costs of the battery pack and electric drive unit would decrease by 31% and 55% in 2025 and 2030, respectively. Together, these two systems are responsible for roughly 99% percent of total vehicle cost reductions. Altogether, Ricardo estimates that battery-electric tractor truck costs will be reduced by 23% in 2025 and 40% in 2030.

For the fuel cell tractor truck, cost distribution was even more heavily weighted to the electric propulsion system. Together, the fuel cell unit and hydrogen storage system are estimated to make up nearly 80% of the total vehicle cost in 2025. With substantial opportunities for manufacturer learning and economies of scale, Ricardo estimates significant cost reductions in fuel cell (30% lower in 2030 compared to 2025) and hydrogen storage systems (21% lower in 2030 compared to 2025). These cost reductions, coupled with decreases in battery pack and electric drive unit costs, are estimated to result in overall vehicle cost reductions of 23% between 2025 and 2030.

E-Truck Virtual Teardown Study: Final Report, Ricardo Strategic Consulting