Fact of the Week #1214

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Energy dot gov Office of Energy Efficiency and renewable energy

Vehicle Technologies Office

Transportation Analysis Fact of the Week #1214


November 29, 2021

Electric and Fuel Cell Heavy-Duty Trucks Could Have Lower Total Cost of Ownership Than Diesels in the Future

A study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory compared the total cost of ownership for Class 8 long haul, Class 8 short haul, and Class 4 parcel delivery trucks for six different powertrain technologies:

  • Diesel
  • Diesel hybrid electric (HEV)
  • Plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV)
  • Compressed natural gas (CNG)
  • Battery electric (BEV)
  • Fuel cell electric (FCEV).

Costs included purchase price, fuel, operating and maintenance, driver wages and benefits, insurance, tire replacements, permits, tolls, dwell time costs due to refueling/recharging and lost payload capacity costs from heavier advanced vehicle powertrains.

The findings show that BEV may be best for shorter ranges or when dwell time is less of a concern. FCEV may be better for longer ranges or when greater uptime is needed. These two truck types help provide a pathway to decarbonization.

Class 4 Parcel Delivery Truck (120-mile range) in the Middle Atlantic Region, Single-Shift, Volume-Limited Scenario

Class 8 Long-haul Tractors (750-mile range) in the Middle Atlantic Region in Multi-Shift, Weight-Limited Scenario

Notes: Ultimate refers to a point in time when the ultimate targets are met for a given fuel type. MSRP refers to manufacturer’s suggested retail price. O&M refers to operating and maintenance costs.

Source: National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Spatial and Temporal Analysis of the Total Cost of Ownership for Class 8 Tractors and Class 4 Parcel Delivery Trucks, September 2021.

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