The automotive industry is now in the process of choosing the best powertrain for the industry in the face of fossil fuels. The result of this choice is highly dependent on the field of operation of the vehicle. Medium-duty trucks, for example, in urban delivery conditions will demonstrate the benefits of switching to electric traction from 2025, and truckers will switch to electric vehicles mainly after 2035.
The authors of the study, which was carried out by a number of American scientific laboratories commissioned by the US Department of Energy, come to similar conclusions. Trucks and cars, hybrid, hydrogen and battery power plants were considered. The factors included the cost of operation and maintenance, insurance and repairs, as well as the amount of taxes. Naturally, the research results are directly related to the US market, and therefore cannot be fully extrapolated to other countries, but some conclusions are natural for the whole world.
In particular, the authors of the study concluded that the operating costs of servicing electric vehicles are already 40% lower than in the case of vehicles based on an internal combustion engine. Among the cars, whose power plant uses an electric motor for certain tasks, the most affordable at the time of purchase are now hybrid cars, since the cost of batteries still makes electric cars more expensive. Hydrogen-fueled cars will also have to get cheaper, but when they become equal in cost to ICE-based cars, the authors of the study do not specify. Many automakers have already expressed the hope that the tipping point for battery electric vehicles will come in the second half of this decade.
In the secondary market, the study notes, prices for older electric vehicles fall more than newer ones. Perhaps this is due to concerns about the residual life of the traction battery – over time, the electric car loses part of the original capacity of the traction batteries. The trucking market will also change under the influence of electric vehicles. In case of switching to batteries, heavy vehicles will have to sacrifice part of the payload, since it will be “eaten” by the mass of the traction batteries. It is for this reason that a number of car manufacturers are now betting on the development of long-haul tractors powered by hydrogen fuel cells – they not only weigh less than batteries, but also allow them to quickly replenish the range, which directly affects the ability of vehicles to make a profit, being on a voyage for more time. …
Logistics companies, when switching to battery trucks, may face the fact that the cost structure will begin to dominate the hourly wages of drivers, since the latter will spend a lot of time waiting for the traction batteries to be charged. The authors of the study expect that in urban use, medium-duty battery trucks will achieve maximum attractiveness in terms of purchase and operating costs after 2025, as battery prices decline. Trunk tractors will have to wait another ten years to reach this evolutionary phase, until 2035.