Technology, Sustainability, and Marketing of Battery Electric and Hydrogen Fuel Cell Medium- and Heavy-Duty Trucks and Buses in 2020-2040

The California Sustainable Freight Action Plan includes goals of deploying over 100,000 zero emission vehicles (ZEV) and equipment, maximizing near-zero emission freight vehicles by 2030, and improving freight system efficiency 25 percent by 2030. In addition, the California Air Resources Board is considering a ZEV truck mandate in which ZEV trucks would be powered by either batteries or fuel cells. The choice of ZEV vehicle technology will depend on a variety of considerations and may vary by application. Understanding the benefits and barriers associated with each technology will be critical to ensuring that sustainable freight goals are met in a cost effective and viable manner. This study compared hydrogen fuel cell and battery electric trucks across a variety of applications including short haul drayage, medium-duty (MD) urban, vocational, and long haul. The comparisons included vehicle capital cost, fueling infrastructure considerations, operating costs such as fuel and maintenance, and truck utility for particular applications. Goals included understanding which technology is best suited for specific applications, what is a reasonable rate of market penetration for ZEVs, and how continued improvements in battery and hydrogen storage technologies will reduce barriers to sales of ZEV MD/heavy-duty (HD) vehicles.


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