Adoption of a new technology in commercial medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicles is largely influenced by its cost compared to alternatives.
By studying a crucial metric—the total cost of ownership—a new research from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) attempts to define the conditions under which battery electric or fuel cell electric commercial vehicles offer economic advantages over regular diesel-fueled trucks (TCO).
NREL researchers used the new T3CO model to calculate all direct and indirect costs for each powertrain technology in three truck vocations: Class 8 long-haul (500–750 miles), Class 8 short-haul (300 miles), and Class 4 package delivery (120-mile range). Researchers examined the powertrains over a variety of periods to show how lower battery and hydrogen fuel prices are critical to advancing medium- and heavy-duty vehicle electrification.
“Our analysis suggests that cost control for refueling and recharging should be a significant emphasis for future research and development,” Hunter added. “The TCO of the battery and fuel cell electric trucks examined in this research is heavily influenced by electricity and hydrogen fuel prices.”
The Advanced Research on Integrated Energy Systems (ARIES) research platform at NREL will help with R&D to accomplish these technological breakthroughs and cost savings.
Schroeder stated, “One of the major consequences of this study is that it helps us refine future research objectives.” “The ARIES platform at NREL is specifically intended to enable cost-effective megawatt-scale charging and high-throughput hydrogen fueling,” says the company.
This comprehensive technology comparison leverages TCO studies developed by other DOE national laboratories and represents significant coordination across the US Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office and Vehicle Technologies Office.