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Analyzing the Competitiveness of Low-carbon Drive-technologies in Road-freight: A Total Cost of Ownership Analysis in Europe


In light of the Paris Agreement, road-freight represents a critically difficult-to-abate sector. In order to meet the ambitious European transport sector emissions reduction targets, a rapid transition to zero-carbon road-freight is necessary. However, limited policy assessments indicate where and how to appropriately intervene in this sector. To support policy-makers in accelerating the zero-carbon road-freight transition, this paper examines the relative cost competitiveness between commercial vehicles of varying alternative drive-technologies through a total cost of ownership (TCO) assessment. We identify key parameters that, when targeted, enable the uptake of these more sustainable niche technologies. The assessment is based on a newly compiled database of cost parameters which were triangulated through expert interviews. The results show that cost competitiveness for low- or zero-emission niche technologies in certain application segments and European countries is exhibited already today. In particular, we find battery electric vehicles to show great promise in the light- and medium-duty segments, but also in the heavy-duty long-haul segments in countries that have enacted targeted policy measures. Three TCO parameters drive this competitiveness: tolls, fuel costs, and CAPEX subsidies. Based on our analysis, we propose that policy-makers target OPEX before CAPEX parameters as well utilize a mix of policy interventions to ensure greater reach, increased efficiency, and increased policy flexibility.

Funding source: This project has received funding from the European Union’s Hori- zon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie (MSC) grant agreement No. 847585, and from the European Research Council (ERC) (grant agreement No. 948220
Related subjects: Hydrogen Blending
Countries: Switzerland

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