The Role of Medium and Heavy-Duty Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles in Achieving California’s Zero-Emission Truck Goals and a Carbon-Free Grid

Research Team: Stephen Ritchie (lead), Behdad Kiani, and Andre Tok

UC Campus(es): UC Irvine

Problem Statement: California has an ambitious goal of achieving a 100% zero emission vehicle (ZEV) drayage fleet by 2035, and all other heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs) by 2045. Moreover, under the pending Advanced Clean Fleets rule, any drayage truck added to the California Air Resources Board Drayage Truck Registry from 2023 on must be a ZEV. Generally speaking, California emphasizes the adoption of Battery-Electric Vehicles (BEVs) to achieve these goals. However, if all HDVs in California become BEVs, the load on the electric grid, which presently has little electric vehicle charging demand, will dramatically increase. Alternatively, HDVs that are fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), utilizing hydrogen as a fuel, potentially offer range, payload, and electric grid load management advantages, compared with BEVs. Thus, future commercial vehicle fleets are likely to utilize both technologies.

Project Description: This project will develop and apply a new integrated, scalable, cost-minimizing commercial fleet electrification and energy technology model (FLEET). FLEET will use both real-world and representative synthetic data to optimize, investigate, and evaluate the cost-effectiveness of medium and heavy-duty hydrogen FCEVs and BEVs in a decarbonized California electric grid. The research team will apply the FLEET model to a California case study using forecasts of FCEV travel demand and market penetration data. The design and attributes of the FLEET model will complement, inform, and significantly improve upon existing models and tools, providing scalability from local to regional and even national levels, and provide capabilities not available in current state of the art models. This project will also identify the potential economic, energy, and environmental impacts of using hydrogen as a major fuel for medium and heavy-duty FCEV fleets.

Status: In Progress

Budget: $116,724