The Costs of Owning Battery-Electric Trucks – Is the Research Aligning?

California and other states are pursuing strategies to transition to zero-emission passenger vehicles and trucks, and regulations under development in California will shape multiple states’ transition to zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty trucks. A key factor influencing the pace of these regulations and complementary incentive programs is when battery-electric trucks can be expected to reach cost parity with conventional diesel trucks. Studies on likely purchase cost and total cost of ownership of battery-electric trucks have produced different estimates about these trucks’ current and future competitiveness with diesel trucks. Comparing these studies, their assumptions, and their total cost of ownership estimates can ultimately help policymakers understand the financial impacts fleets will experience in transitioning to zero-emission vehicles, and the likelihood of fleets purchasing zero-emission vehicles independent of regulatory requirements.

Researchers at the University of California, Davis reviewed 10 recent studies of the total cost of ownership of battery-electric trucks, now and in the future, compared to a baseline diesel truck. The researchers did not judge these studies against each other but attempted to derive general findings that are robust across all the studies. This policy brief summarizes the key findings from that research.