Costs and climate benefits with fossil-free propulsion of heavy duty trucks

Electric driven long-distance freight transport is a surprisingly good alternative for fossil free transition, both from a climate and economic point of view. But access to fossil free electricity is crucial.

Costs and climate benefits from different technology alternatives for fossil free propulsion for heavy long-haulage freight transport by road are presented in this report: biofuels (liquid and gaseous), battery electric vehicles (BEV), electric road systems (ERS), hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles (H2-FCEV) and electrofuels.

The researchers have compared costs based on what they call a “relative mobility cost”, to visualize costs for stakeholders related to vehicle investment, service and repairs, fuel production and distribution as well as costs for investments and distribution infrastructure maintenance.

No single technology could be identified as a clear winner, but one result stands out. From a cost perspective, the battery electric vehicles seem to have best performance already 2030.

Electric powerlines also show the best climate performance, given that the electricity mix used has a low CO2 intensity and batteries can be produced with a low climate impact.

If a more CO2 intense electricity mix is used, battery electric vehicles have higher greenhouse gas emissions than biogas and all the studied biofuels.

The researchers also show how costs vary if there is a fee or climate impact equivalent to the current CO2 tax added to the studied alternatives. In that case, many of the alternatives perform better, i.e. have a lower cost, than diesel. This shows that policy plays an important role for future cost developments for the different alternatives.


Kristina Holmgren, earlier at VTI


Inge Vierth and Johanna Takman, VTI // Stefan Heyne, CIT Industriell Energi // Ingemar Magnusson and Monica Johansson, Volvo // Magnus Fröberg, Scania // Olov Petrén, E.on // Per-Arne Karlsson, St1

Time plan
August 2019 - February 2021

Total project cost
1 800 000 SEK

The Swedish Energy Agency, the f3 partners, Volvo Technology, St1, Scania and E.on.

Swedish Energy Agency's project number within the collaborative research program

The project has a reference group with members from relevant authorities and industry and commerce.