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Quantifying the Economic Case for Electric Semi-Trucks

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journal contribution
posted on 04.12.2018, 00:00 by Shashank Sripad, Venkatasubramanian Viswanathan
There has been considerable interest in the electrification of freight transport; however, there is uncertainty in the technological and economic competitiveness due to the size and the substantial costs associated with large battery packs. Here we analyze the trade-off between the initial investment and the operating costs to compare a Class 8 diesel semi-truck and an electric truck with a range of 500 miles. We define the payback period to be the time span required for the operational cost savings to break even with the initial price differential. For an initial price differential of ∼US$100 000, we estimate a baseline payback period of 3.24 ± 1.46 years. We identify four targets in the 20202030 time frame, each of which needs to be met in order to ensure a payback period of about ∼5 years: (i) an optimized vehicle design with a drag coefficient of 0.4 ± 0.04 for lowering the pack size and meeting the payload demands, (ii) pack price of