Does the electrification of U.S. heavy-duty trucks make a difference?

Attempting to gain insights from how alternative fuel technologies employed in heavy-duty trucks (HDTs) differ with respect to their life-cycle emissions, costs, and externalities presents an important opportunity to develop a more holistic overall analysis of future HDTs. To this end, this study uses a hybrid life-cycle assessment method to analyze and compare alternative fuel-powered Class 8 HDTs. To account for the uncertainty in the data a Monte Carlo simulation is also applied. The HDTs considered in this analysis (biodiesel (B20), compressed natural gas, hybrid, and battery electric (BE)) are compared to the diesel HDT. The results show that BE HDTs outperform all other types of trucks overall, despite their incremental costs and electricity generation-related emissions. Furthermore, if such a BE truck were to run on electricity generated in the U.S. Northeast Power Coordinating Council (including the six New England states, and the state of New York) region, fuel-consumption related greenhouse gas emissions from BE HDTs could decrease by as much as 63 percent. It has also been found that, although there is a slight difference between the life-cycle costs (LCCs) of conventional HDTs and CNG-powered HDTs, the latter emits 33% more greenhouse gases than the former. Moreover, this study concludes that CNG trucks yield no improvements in either HDT’s life-cycle environmental impacts or LCCs compared to their conventional counterparts. Providing that electricity is generated from renewable energy sources, the use of BE trucks would significantly improve the life-cycle performance of a truck as well as ambient air quality.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This paper was sponsored by TRB committee ADC80 Standing Committee on Alternative Transportation Fuels and Technologies. Alternate title: Does Electrification of U.S. Heavy-Duty Trucks Make a Difference?
  • Corporate Authors:

    Transportation Research Board

    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Authors:
    • Sen, Burak
    • Ercan, Tolga
    • Tatari, Omer
  • Conference:
  • Date: 2017


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 17p
  • Monograph Title: TRB 96th Annual Meeting Compendium of Papers

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01623416
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 17-02177
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Jan 24 2017 3:32PM