Total cost of ownership of alternative powertrain technologies for Class 8 long-haul trucks in the United States
Despite their environmental benefits, the widespread adoption of zero-emission heavy-duty vehicles will only occur if it also leads to economic benefits. To shed light on their financial viability, this paper evaluates the total cost of ownership (TCO) of Class 8 tractor-trailers for four different technologies: diesel, battery electric, hydrogen fuel-cell, and hydrogen combustion powertrains.
The analysis finds that by 2030, the TCO of battery electric long-haul trucks will likely be lower than that of their diesel counterparts in all representative states considered. Despite their higher upfront price, battery electric trucks have substantially lower operational expenses than the other trucks studied due to their higher energy efficiency and lower maintenance costs. For very high daily mileages, battery electric trucks can still achieve a better total cost of ownership than their diesel counterparts despite the larger battery size required.
The analysis also finds that battery electric trucks have a lower TCO than hydrogen powered trucks for long-haul applications due to lower fuel costs. This is the case even when accounting for tax credits in the Inflation Reduction Act. With estimated charging costs ranging between $0.15/kWh and $0.30/kWh, green hydrogen fuel prices would need to be in the range of $3.00/kg to $6.50/kg for hydrogen fuel-cell trucks to reach TCO parity with battery electric during the next decade. Hydrogen internal combustion engine trucks will require green hydrogen fuel prices as low was $2.00/kg to reach TCO parity with battery electric trucks by 2030.