NREL report finds electrified heavy-duty vehicle powertrains could provide lower total cost of ownership than diesel under certain conditions

A new complete price of ownership (TCO) analyze from the Nationwide Renewable Electrical power Laboratory (NREL) finds that battery-electrical and gas-mobile electric powered professional vans could be economically aggressive with conventional diesel vehicles by 2025 in some functioning scenarios.


Spatial and Temporal Examination of the Total Price tag of Ownership for Course 8 Tractors and Class 4 Parcel Supply Trucks compares six primary powertrain technologies to quantify the overall cost of possession (TCO) of distinct truck solutions and to recognize operating situations where by just about every technological innovation may perhaps have an financial advantage. The powertrains analyzed include traditional diesel diesel hybrid electric powered plug-in hybrid electric powered compressed all-natural gas gasoline cell electric powered and battery all-electric powered.

Our objective was to supply a quantitative comparison of a variety of powertrains to spotlight the likely life time implications of each and every technologies. This examination located that battery-electrical and hydrogen-electrical powertrains could have a aggressive TCO as early as 2025, even for Course 8 cars, which are notoriously complicated to decarbonize.

—Chad Hunter, lead creator of the report and previous NREL researcher

This TCO analyze quantifies indirect costs—for instance, the charge of lost cargo potential thanks to a heavier powertrain or the charge of dwell time invested refueling or recharging—along with the direct expenditures of acquiring, maintaining, fueling or charging, and driving a motor vehicle. Knowing these oblique expenses is essential to understanding the full financial implications of a change towards zero-emission transportation.

The investigation leveraged NREL’s Transportation Technological innovation Overall Expense of Ownership (T3CO) modeling framework, which allows levelized assessments of the entire everyday living-cycle charges of superior industrial cars. T3CO combines the electrical power of two current NREL tools, the Future Automotive Methods Technology Simulator (FASTSim) and the Circumstance Analysis and Regionalization Examination (SERA) product, to account for the diverse overall performance and economic necessities for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.

T3CO functions an stop-to-finish, integrated solution for assessing all fees and enabling consistent comparisons across systems and vocations.

Making use of the new T3CO product, NREL scientists assessed all direct and oblique expenses for each and every powertrain technology for a few various truck vocations: Class 8 long-haul (500–750-mile variety) Course 8 short-haul (300-mile array) and Class 4 parcel shipping and delivery (120-mile selection). To even further the examination, scientists compared the powertrains for multiple timeframes to illustrate how battery and hydrogen gasoline selling price reductions are key to accelerating medium- and heavy-duty motor vehicle electrification.

The evaluation identified that each individual powertrain technologies may well have an financial advantage on a TCO basis in sure organization working conditions, relying on gas rate understood. Among the the top rated-level results:

  • In general, battery-electric powered powertrains could be very best for shorter-variety purposes or when dwell time is not a problem, and are complemented by gas cell powertrains that may be improved for more time ranges or functioning eventualities that involve bigger uptime.

  • The Class 8 lengthy-haul (750-mile-selection) gas cell electrical car or truck (FCEV) is the cheapest-price zero-emissions car or truck (ZEV) if technologies targets are achieved (no matter of dwell and payload fees).

  • For the Class 8 lengthy-haul (500-mile-selection) vocation, FCEVs and battery electric powered cars (BEVs) are very competitive with diesel if Top targets are achieved (irrespective of dwell and payload costs).

  • If dwell time charges are incurred, FCEVs are the cheapest-value ZEV for Course 4 parcel supply, Course 8 brief haul (300 miles), and Course 8 extensive haul (500 miles).

  • For the Course 8 shorter-haul (300-mile-array) and Class 4 parcel supply (120-mile-variety) vocations, BEVs are the cheapest-charge ZEV if dwell time prices are not in- curred and Final targets are accomplished.

  • Misplaced payload ability expense for Course 8 lengthy-haul (500+ mile) FCEVs or Course 8 brief-haul (300-mile) BEVs is smaller due to the 2,000-lb exemption for alternate powertrain vehicles.

  • Energy price tag and hydrogen gas price are the most influential parameters to the TCO of all vehicles, and medium- and heavy-obligation refueling/recharging price tag reduction/management should be a vital concentrate location for R&D.

In summary, this examination displays that medium- and major-duty vans with battery and gas mobile electrical powertrains could be economically aggressive with diesel powertrains less than quite a few running situations
as early as 2025 for shorter-range apps ($3/gal) and minimal hydrogen/electrical power selling prices are realized.

—Hunter et al.


  • Hunter, Chad, Michael Penev, Evan Reznicek, Jason Lustbader, Alicia Birky, and Chen Zhang (2021) “Spatial and Temporal Analysis of the Total Price tag of Possession for Class 8 Tractors and Class 4 Parcel Supply Vans.” Golden, CO: Nationwide Renewable Vitality Laboratory. NREL/TP-5400-71796.