Planning for the Energy Needs of Medium- and Heavy-Duty Zero-Emission Trucks

Research Team: Stephen Ritchie (lead), Behdad Kiani, Andre Tok, Tim Lipman, Miguel Jaller, and Alan Jenn

UC Campus(es): UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Irvine

Problem Statement: California has set targets to achieve 100% zero emission drayage trucks by 2035 and zero emissions for all remaining heavy-duty vehicles by 2045. To achieve these goals, particularly for short-haul trucks (those that travel less than 200 miles per day) and drayage trucks, California policies currently focus on the adoption of battery-electric vehicles (BEVs). Transitioning these heavy-duty vehicles to BEVs will significantly increase electric vehicle charging demand, potentially creating complex load impacts on the electric grid. An alternative to battery electric trucks are hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, which may offer increased range and payload, as well as electric grid load management advantages. Because of the tradeoffs, it’s likely that future commercial vehicle fleets will use a mix of both technologies. Research is needed to investigate the cost and energy-use implications of California’s ZEV truck targets for charging and hydrogen refueling infrastructure. In particular, research can help answer the question – how can these medium-and heavy-duty truck technology transitions aid or hinder the state’s efforts to achieve a carbon-free grid, and what will it all cost?

Project Description: This project will model the impacts of electrifying short-haul medium- and heavy-duty trucks on the energy supply system. First, it will develop a reference case consisting of energy demand scenarios from existing academic and state agency models and other estimates. Then, the research team will use the model to analyze various fleet mixes of BEVs and fuel cell electric vehicles between 2025 and 2050, while factoring in the least amount of public and private investment required for fleet operators and the grid infrastructure. The model will also examine ways that BEVs and hydrogen generation play into the state’s goals for decarbonizing the electricity grid and will identify ways that two-way charging (vehicle-to-grid and grid-to-vehicle) can minimize the total cost for both fleets and utilities. Ultimately, the results from this study will be combined with the results from a parallel study at the University of California, Irvine involving long-haul medium- and heavy-duty truck activity. Together, these studies will provide a comprehensive picture of the total energy system needed for ZEV truck infrastructure and its costs.

Status: In Progress

Budget: $104,385