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ICCT briefing paper estimates infrastructure cost and buildout required for 100% sales of zero-emission tractor-trailers by 2040

A new working paper from the the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) estimates the order of magnitude in scale and pace of national infrastructure investment required to meet the goal of 100% sales of zero-emission tractor-trailers (Class 7 and Class 8)—battery-electric and fuel-cell electric—by 2040.

For battery-electric trucks, the results include the number and type of charging stations needed in each year. For hydrogen fuel cell trucks, the results include the total number of hydrogen refueling stations needed in each year. The result is an estimate of the total up-front public and private sector investment needed to deploy this scale of charging and refueling infrastructure.

The ICCT team modeled the future growth and activity of the US tractor-trailer fleet, and then made further projections for the two zero-emission powertrains: battery-electric and hydrogen fuel cell electric. The share of vehicles allocated to each of these two powertrain types was determined based on the estimated daily range required of vehicles in each vehicle category.

To estimate the energy demand of zero-emission powertrains, the authors used the average energy intensity of conventional internal combustion engines in each vehicle segment and model year, then adjusted these by weighting factors that reflect the higher energy efficiency of electric powertrains.

For charging needs, they assume direct current (DC) chargers at three nominal power levels: 100 kW (overnight chargers), 350 kW (fast chargers), and 1,000 kW (megawatt chargers), coupled with a variety of optimized charging strategies.

For hydrogen fuel cell trucks, they assumed that the average hydrogen refueling station will have the capacity to deliver 4,800 kg of hydrogen per day.

Among their findings:

  • The national fleet of Class 7 and Class 8 tractor-trailers will grow by 3.5% in the next 30 years, totaling around 3 million tractor-trailers in 2050. Sales are projected to remain stable at around 145,000 units over the same period.

    The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) 1

    US tractor-trailer sales and stock, assuming a transition to 100% zero-emission vehicle sales by 2040. Source: ICCT.

  • By 2030, approximately 127,000 charging points and 2020 hydrogen refueling stations will be necessary to support a fleet of 103,000 zero-emission tractor trailers. The cumulative investment needed to install publicly available infrastructure is $6.4 billion, beginning in 2021. Of 32,000 publicly accessible chargers, 14,000 will require a charging speed of 350 kW or greater.

  • By 2050, the network of national charging points will need to support a fleet of 2.4 million zero-emission tractor trailers. This will require 2.5 million charging points and 6,900 hydrogen refueling stations, while the cumulative investment in publicly accessible infrastructure will need to equal approximately $122 billion.

    The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) 1

    Number of chargers and hydrogen refueling stations needed to support 100% zero-emission tractor-trailer sales from 2040. Source: ICCT

  • Total cumulative public and private investment through 2050 is estimated to be $238 billion.

The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) 3

Infrastructure needs of a 100% zero-emission tractor-trailer fleet in the United States. Source: ICCT



The split between FCEV trucks and BEVs surely depends on the assumed costs, notably of hydrogen and batteries.

I can't find anything about what figures they are using, and so I don't find this comprehensible or useful.


They could also consider charge while you drive roads where you have a catenary supplying power to a pantograph pair on the trucks.
You wouldn't need 100% coverage, just enough to top up battery (or fuel cell) trucks. You would put it in on open stretches of road, not in cities.
Thus, you could drive further for a given battery size, and have less deep cycles on your battery, making it last longer.
You would need some standards for this (and fast).

Glad to see this study, but specifying 100 kW as overnight chargers is massive overkill. Musk has said that the Tesla Semi, the longest range tractor, will have a ~500kWh battery.

Freightliner has 475kWh. Volvo has 264kWh.

Truck driver duty period is 14 hours, 11 hours driving time.


Battery for warehouse to store they can charge while loading


They have some of the poorest graphics that I seen. With the 2 dark colors, It is really hard to separate the fuel cell share from the diesel share.


Apparently they mostly based the split between battery electric and fuel cell based on route lengths. Most trucks in the US are used for local delivery and drayage and rarely need to exceed 150 miles of range. I would imagine that the range requirements are even less in the UK or Europe. In the end, it will come down to economics. It is hard to see how generating "green" hydrogen using electrolysis can compete with just charging batteries unless high temperature electrolysis using nuclear power starts to make a dent in hydrogen production. Also, it will depend on the economics of fast charging. Anyway, from their tables, they project about a 10:1 battery/fuel cell split in 2030, about 7:1 in 2040 and just about 5.5:1 in 2050 but that is so far out that, in my opinion, it is hard to make good projections. It is like projecting computing power in the 1950's based on vacuum tube technology. Maybe yoatmon's HB11 fusion will be up and running and power will be too cheap to meter.

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