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Insight & Opinion

Analysing Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for Trucking Operators in Various Scenarios

Sustainable Trucks lined Up with sunset in the backgroundSustainable Trucks lined Up with sunset in the background
September 27,2023
In the ever-evolving world of trucking operations, Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) plays a pivotal role in decision-making. To provide valuable insights, we have conducted an in-depth analysis of 27 scenarios for Light Commercial Vehicles (LCV), Medium Commercial Vehicles (MCV), and Heavy Commercial Vehicles (HCV) across three investment timeframes: 2023, 2025, and 2030.   Capital Expenditure (CapEx) Assumptions: Our analysis considers decreasing investment levels in the key components of different drive systems, including batteries, fuel cells, hydrogen tanks, power electronics, e-motors, and transmissions.   Operational Expenditure (OpEx) Assumptions: OpEx assumptions revolve around the price development of critical commodities such as Brent oil, hydrogen, electricity, and CO2 pricing. We also account for maintenance costs, planned and unplanned, as well as the replacement of traction batteries for Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) and Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEV) when they reach their maximum cycle limit. Toll fees for diesel vehicles are included in our analysis.   TCO Comparison: We compare TCO across three truck classes: LCV (local), MCV (regional), and HCV (long-haul). Each TCO comparison includes three scenarios: pessimistic, realistic, and optimistic. We investigate these scenarios for three different investment dates: 2023, 2025, and 2030, resulting in a total of 27 examined scenarios.   Our TCO scenarios are highly dependent on assumptions regarding future oil price development, CO2 fees, and fluctuating hydrogen prices. Key factors considered include:  
  1. CO2 emission fees that increase annually and a shift to market dynamics after 2027.
  2. Expected reductions in the cost of green-produced hydrogen.
  3. Geopolitical influences on oil prices.
  4. Fluctuations in electric power prices influenced by CO2 pricing and renewable energy generation.
  The TCO analysis reveals interesting findings:  
  • For investments in 2023, LCV BEV drives offer the lowest TCO in all scenarios, followed by Diesel propulsion.
  • For investments in 2023, HCV BEV drives demonstrate the lowest TCO in all scenarios, followed by Diesel propulsion (optimistic scenario) or FCEV.
  • In the optimistic scenario for 2025 investments, HCV FCEV drives show the lowest TCO. In other scenarios, BEV retains a marginal advantage.
  TCO parity for BEVs and HCVs in 2025 hinges on alterations in electricity and hydrogen prices.   In summary, Batteries and Fuel Cells are predominant solutions, each with pros and cons. Battery electric vehicles offer lower TCO but come with payload and charging time limitations. Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles offer advantages in energy density and refuelling times but depend on government support and hydrogen supply costs.   In 22 out of 27 scenarios, BEV outperforms other propulsion systems in terms of TCO. However, achieving TCO parity often requires substantial shifts in energy or hydrogen prices. Tax and fee differences between EU countries further complicate the landscape, highlighting the importance of ongoing analysis and adaptability for trucking operators.

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