Zero-Emission Medium- and Heavy-duty Truck Technology, Markets, and Policy Assessments for California

Research Team: Andrew Burke (lead) and Marshall Miller

UC Campus(es): UC Davis

Problem Statement: California has a number of programs and regulations intended to result in the introduction of zero- and near-zero emission technologies into the medium- and heavy-duty (MD/HD) truck sector. Meeting these goals will require the sale of large numbers of advanced technology transit buses and MD/HD trucks before 2025 and beyond. There are a number of advanced technologies (e.g., battery/electrics, hydrogen/fuel cells, plug-in hybrid electrics, electrified roadways, and dual fuel/diesel/biogas engines) that can be used in these vehicles to reduce their emissions by large factors. For each of the technologies, there are a number of issues that must be evaluated to determine if and when they will become marketability to the trucking community in the various truck classes.

Project Description: This project assesses zero emissions medium- and heavy-duty vehicle technologies, their associated costs, projected market share, and possible policy mandates and incentives to support their adoption. Cost comparisons indicate that battery-electric transit buses and city delivery trucks are the most economically attractive of the zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) based on their break-even mileage being a small fraction of the expected total mileage. These ZEVs using fuel cells are also attractive for a hydrogen cost of $5/kg. The most economically unattractive vehicle types for ZEV adoption are long-haul trucks and inter-city buses. Developing mandates for buses and trucks will be more difficult than for passenger cars for several reasons, including the large differences in the size and cost of the vehicles and the ways they are used in commercial, profit-oriented fleets. The best approach will be to develop separate mandates for classes of vehicles that have similar sizes, cost characteristics, use patterns, and ownership/business models. These mandates should be coupled to incentives that vary by vehicle type/class and by year or accumulated sales volume, to account for the effects of expected price reductions with time.

Status: Completed

Budget: $25,000

Policy Brief(s):