Hydrogen trucks will not be able to compete with electric ones

Hydrogen trucks will not be able to compete with electric ones
Hydrogen trucks will not be able to compete with electric ones

Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) are unlikely to take a significant place in the future trucking market any time soon, as they cannot compete on a cost basis with battery electric trucks. These are the main conclusions of the report “Decarbonisation of trucks in Europe”, prepared by the “International Transport Forum”, an intergovernmental center for analyzes of the OECD in the field of transport.

The higher operating costs of operating FCEVs compared to other electric vehicles are exclusively related to higher fuel costs, which in turn are due to the loss of energy due to electrolysis, the paper says.

The report compares the cost of buying and owning FCEVs, battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and vehicles powered by “electric road systems” (ERSVs) as overhead lines over a seven-year period. Nine different types of vehicles were analyzed, including trucks and tractors.

The report “for the first time takes into account the significant uncertainty associated with each technology by examining 1,000 unique scenarios for each transmission technology and for nine different vehicle types in Europe. … By precisely quantifying the uncertainty associated with each technology and research across different vehicle sizes, the analysis provides a deeper understanding of the potential of zero-emission drive technologies.”

The authors indicate that zero-emission midsize vehicles should become economically competitive with diesel trucks between 2030 and 2040 for all vehicle sizes. Exactly when this will happen depends on the size of the vehicle: the smallest categories (7.5 tonnes) could reach parity in overall price with diesel cars as early as 2022.

At the same time, it is noted that among all types of zero-emission trucks, the prospects for hydrogen ones are the lowest – in 90% of the considered scenarios by 2050, the market share of FCEV trucks will not exceed 10%.

The report does not provide final life-cycle costs for each type, acknowledging that there is a high degree of uncertainty about a number of variables for all vehicles, including the cost of hydrogen fuel.

In the best case scenario, the price of hydrogen fuel at a gas station will drop sharply from €9.50/kg today to just €1.5/kg in 2050. A price of €2.5/kg will give FCEVs a chance to compete with BEV and ERSV. However, this cost will depend on the level of subsidies and market coverage, and the FCEV will only be successful if the associated costs of all-electric equivalents remain high.

In the worst case scenario, the price of hydrogen fuel will drop very slightly to €8.50 per kg in 2050.

The authors state that any development of hydrogen infrastructure will depend largely on the financial support of the respective government and will be associated with significant costs. At the same time, governments considering financing hydrogen refueling networks risk being left with depreciated assets if hydrogen transport is not developed on a sufficient scale.


The report adds that there are potential niche markets in particularly “difficult” market segments for which hydrogen trucks are well-suited. They concern the use of extra-heavy (70-tonne) vehicles, long-distance transport or certain categories of construction machinery. However, further studies are needed to assess the potential.

“FCEVs will be cost-competitive only in a few cases, with a very ambitious hydrogen fuel price below €2.5 per kg and conservative scenarios for other technologies,” the report said.

“This lack of cost competitiveness in much of the European market means that achieving the necessary economies of scale in producing vehicles at lower purchase prices and maintaining a high level of charging infrastructure utilization is likely to remain a challenge for FCEVs .”

The article is in bulgaria

Tags: Hydrogen trucks compete electric

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