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2023-10-01 VDE dialog

Transport: The truck of tomorrow is cheaper

Thanks to political support, electric trucks are already just as worthwhile to buy as diesel trucks - and will even be cheaper in the future.

By Michael Neißendorfer

VDE dialog - the technology magazine

The question of total cost of ownership (TCO) is absolutely essential for companies. According to the calculations of the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), electric trucks have already achieved TCO parity with their diesel counterparts thanks to the current political measures in Germany. These measures include purchase bonuses, which cover up to 80 percent of the difference in the cost of procuring an electric truck compared to a diesel truck. Moreover, electric trucks are exempt from tolls, whereas ICE trucks are subject to a CO2 surcharge that increases toll costs further.

The ICCT believes that without generous subsidies, battery-electric long-haul trucks would not achieve cost parity with diesel trucks in Germany until the middle of this decade. A reduction in battery costs and an improvement in the energy density of batteries would be crucial factors here. Their cost advantage over diesel trucks is also partly due to the lower maintenance costs of battery-electric trucks.

Another study by Transport & Environment assumes that as of 2030, electric trucks will register lower total costs of ownership while simultaneously meeting the same requirements in terms of range, duration and payload in 99.6 percent of application cases in European road freight traffic. According to the study, this will be true of everything from 16-tonners in distribution traffic to 40-tonners in the long-haul sector. Fuel-cell drives are at a disadvantage from an economic point of view because hydrogen will probably remain a scarce (and thus expensive) fuel in the relatively long term.