- Current front-runner
- Emerging contender
The transportation industry is at a crossroads, with two major technologies vying for dominance: battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (HFCVs). Both technologies offer the promise of zero-emission transportation, but each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
Battery Electric Trucks: The Current Front-Runner
In 2022, nearly 66,000 electric buses and 60,000 medium- and heavy-duty trucks were sold worldwide, representing about 4.5% of all bus sales and 1.2% of truck sales globally. The majority of these vehicles were sold in China, which continues to dominate the production and sales of electric trucks and buses.
Battery electric trucks have several advantages. They are roughly 50% more efficient to operate than diesel trucks, making them at least 20% less expensive. Moreover, they produce zero tailpipe emissions, contributing to a significant reduction in carbon emissions3. However, they also face challenges such as limited driving range, longer refueling times, and the current lack of charging infrastructure, especially for long-haul routes.
Hydrogen Trucks: The Emerging Contender
Hydrogen trucks, on the other hand, are still in the early stages of market penetration. As of 2020, there were only 25,932 hydrogen-powered vehicles registered globally, with the majority being buses. However, the hydrogen truck market is projected to grow rapidly, with the global hydrogen trucks market size expected to surpass around USD 118.1 billion by 2032.
Hydrogen trucks offer significant environmental benefits, fuel efficiency, and noise reduction. They produce only water vapor as a byproduct, making them a clean energy solution. However, they also face challenges such as high initial costs, lack of a widespread refueling infrastructure, and safety concerns related to the storage and transportation of hydrogen.
While both battery and hydrogen trucks have their merits, the choice between the two technologies ultimately depends on the specific use case. Battery electric trucks are currently leading the race due to their higher efficiency and lower operating costs. However, hydrogen trucks hold promise for long-haul transportation due to their longer driving range and quicker refueling times.
The race between battery and hydrogen trucks is far from over. As technology advances and infrastructure develops, the balance could shift. For now, it’s clear that both technologies will play a crucial role in the transition to sustainable transportation.
In conclusion, the future of the trucking industry lies in the adoption of zero-emission technologies. Whether battery or hydrogen trucks will dominate the market remains to be seen. What is certain, however, is that the race is on, and the winner will be the environment.