Working Paper

Real-world use cases for zero-emission trucks: Coal freight trucks in Yulin city, Shaanxi province

This study reviewed the zero-emission trucks (ZETs) market development and real-world performance, specifically heavy-duty battery electric and fuel-cell electric trucks, in Yulin city, Shaanxi province, China. The analysis examines the total cost of ownership (TCO) and economic benefits of using battery electric tractor trailers in coal freight based on empirical data on real-world operations, compared with diesel tractor-trailers.

The study also includes a comparison between different business models for battery swapping trucks, especially those utilizing battery-as-a-service (BaaS) models. Compared with buying the whole electric trucks, this potentially attractive business model provides flexibility to buyers as it turns a large part of capital expenditure into an operational expense.

Our findings suggest that while zero-emission trucks show promise in terms of operational and economic performance, challenges like lower payload capacity remain. Innovative financing models and policy incentives for ZETs may further increase their attractiveness to fleet operators.