Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Research Reports

Cover page of Future Electric Vehicle Production in the United States and Europe – Will It Be Enough?

Future Electric Vehicle Production in the United States and Europe – Will It Be Enough?


The US and Europe have ambitious plans and targets for light-duty electric vehicle (EV) market growth. This study estimates planned EV production capacity in both regions and investigates whether coordinating their combined production capacity would help them meet targets. We find that, while each region is developing a strong EV production capacity domestically, either may fall short of their targets given investments in EV production announced to-date. Transatlantic trade can serve as a critical “spare capacity” to add assurance. Yet, in scenarios where both regions seek higher EV sales targets, a combined shortfall in annual EV production capacity could reach over 6 million EVs compared to the 20 million needed by 2030. An additional investment of about $42 billion across both regions could address this concern, however, time is getting short to build new plants and bring them online. The capacity shortfall may persist even with planned EV production capacity from other major manufacturing centers such as Canada, Mexico, Japan and South Korea. Additional policies and incentives will be needed to ensure planned capacities are developed in a timely manner. Some options include providing incentives to invest and reducing barriers to trade. Exploring the potential supply of vehicles from other major EV manufacturing countries, such as China and India, is recommended.

Cover page of Creating a Global Hydrogen Economy: Review of International Strategies, Targets, and Policies with a Focus on Japan, Germany, South Korea, and California

Creating a Global Hydrogen Economy: Review of International Strategies, Targets, and Policies with a Focus on Japan, Germany, South Korea, and California


Motivated by increasing emphasis on decarbonization, hydrogen as an energy carrier is enjoying unprecedented political and business momentum. This paper reviews the status of hydrogen strategies and progress in major global economies, with a particular focus on four leading jurisdictions (Japan, Germany, S. Korea and California). These have been among the most aggressive, though in different ways. Japan, Germany, and S. Korea have been more focused on developing a sustainable hydrogen supply chain, while California has been more focused on spurring hydrogen demand, especially in the transportation sector. Japan’s strategy involves forging partnerships to import “blue” hydrogen (from methane with carbon abatement strategies) while Germany has focused on “green” (e.g., electrolytic) hydrogen production, along with plans to leverage its extensive natural gas pipelines for hydrogen distribution. Japan anticipates the power sector to be the largest consumer of hydrogen, while others expect the transportation and industry sectors to be the prime movers of future hydrogen demand. Japan, S. Korea and Germany will likely import a substantial portion of their future hydrogen supplies, while California has the potential for low-cost hydrogen production, but will need to establish demand and invest in hydrogen transportation and distribution infrastructure. In all four jurisdictions, investments are still relatively small and there exists huge opportunities for cooperation to develop a self-sustaining global hydrogen market.

Cover page of Evaluation of the Economics of Battery-Electric and Fuel Cell Trucks and Buses: Methods, Issues, and Results

Evaluation of the Economics of Battery-Electric and Fuel Cell Trucks and Buses: Methods, Issues, and Results


This study evaluates the economics of various types and classes of medium-duty and heavy-duty battery-electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles relative to the corresponding diesel-engine powered vehicle for 2020-2040.  The study includes:  large passenger vans, class 3 city delivery vans, class 4 step city delivery trucks, class 6 box trucks, class 7 box trucks, class 8 box trucks, city transit buses, long haul tractor trailer trucks, city short haul tractor trailer delivery trucks, inter-city buses, and HD pickup trucks.  Typical designs were formulated for each vehicle type in terms of its road driving and load characteristics and powertrain and energy storage components. The performance and energy consumption of the electrified trucks were simulated for appropriate driving cycles using the ADVISOR simulation program.  The vehicle design characteristics were varied over 2020-2040 to reflect expected technology improvements. The study then focused on estimating the initial cost and total cost of ownership (TCO) for each vehicle type over the initial 5-year period and the 15-year lifetime and calculating payback periods. Calculations were done for 2020, 2025, 2030, 2035, and 2040.  The analysis particularly focuses on 2025 and 2030 since these are the most relevant years for initial market penetration.

For both battery and fuel cell vehicles, thanks to technology cost reductions, the initial cost generally decreases markedly in the period 2020-2030 and more modestly for 2030-2040.  Assuming fairly constant electric prices, declining hydrogen prices, and slowly rising diesel prices, TCOs for the various electrified truck types typically become less than that of the corresponding diesel truck before the initial cost of the electrified trucks gets close to that for the diesel truck.  For most battery-electric truck types, TCO competitiveness occurs by 2025.  For that year, the payback time for most truck types is 4-6 years and is less than 4 years by 2030. Fuel cell vehicles take longer to pay back due mainly to hydrogen fuel costs remaining above diesel prices on an energy basis. Fuel cell truck payback times of 3-5 years by 2030 can be achieved if the cost of hydrogen in that year is reduced below $7/kg. Fuel cell buses have payback times of less than one year in 2030.  By 2030, the purchase cost of most types of both battery-electric and hydrogen fuel cell trucks is close to that of the corresponding diesel vehicle and TCOs are competitive as long as battery costs and fuel cell costs drop per our expectations along with moderate electricity and hydrogen costs.  The cost sensitivity results indicated these conclusions were not significantly changed by reasonable variations in the major cost inputs (battery, fuel cell, hydrogen, electricity and diesel fuel) assumed in the economic analyses.

Cover page of The Current and Future Performance and Costs of Battery Electric Trucks: Review of Key Studies and A Detailed Comparison of Their Cost Modeling Scope and Coverage

The Current and Future Performance and Costs of Battery Electric Trucks: Review of Key Studies and A Detailed Comparison of Their Cost Modeling Scope and Coverage


This project aims to assess the current and future performance and costs of battery electric trucking, through reviewing key recent studies in the U.S. and presenting a detailed comparison of their cost modeling scope and coverage. This white paper presents a review of 10 recent studies of the total cost of ownership (TCO) of battery electric trucks (BET), now and in the future, compared to a baseline diesel truck, for the following 3 important types of truck: heavy-duty long-haul trucks, medium-duty delivery trucks, and heavy-duty drayage/short-haul trucks. The researchers break down the studies into their estimates for a range of important cost and operating factors, such as vehicle purchase cost, efficiency, fuel cost, maintenance cost, required range and thus battery pack sizing, and other factors. Of note are differences in major assumptions of studies and variables that are included or excluded from consideration. The authors do not judge these studies against each other but attempt to derive general findings that are robust across studies, areas of significant difference, and areas for further research. Overall, TCO estimates across the studies, for a given truck type, can vary dramatically, though often several studies cluster together. But as this study explores, the differences in TCO link directly to differences in assumptions, parameters and other differences across the studies. The studies vary in important ways that should be taken into account when comparing TCO estimates. Policy makers should consider the context of truck type, truck use and other factors when reading such studies, and pay attention to assumptions. Policies should reflect the wide range of situations that trucks may encounter and avoid assuming a simple average TCO across all situations.

View the NCST Project Webpage

Cover page of Spatial Scenarios for Market Penetration of Plug-in Battery Electric Trucks in the U.S.

Spatial Scenarios for Market Penetration of Plug-in Battery Electric Trucks in the U.S.


Carbon emissions targets require large reductions in greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the near-to mid-term, and the transportation sector is a major emitter of GHGs. To understand potential pathways to GHG reductions, this project developed the U.S. Transportation Transitions Model (US TTM) to study various scenarios of zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) market penetration in the U.S. The model includes vehicle fuel economy, vehicle stock and sales, fuel carbon intensities, and costs for vehicles and fuels all projected through 2050. Market penetration scenarios through 2050 are input as percentages of sales for all vehicle types and technologies. Three scenarios were developed for the U.S.: a business as usual (BAU), low carbon (LC), and High ZEV scenario. The LC and High ZEV include rapid penetration of ZEVs into the vehicle market. The introduction of ZEVs requires fueling infrastructure to support the vehicles. Initial deployments of ZEVs are expected to be dominated by battery electric vehicles. To estimate the number and cost of charging stations for battery electric trucks in the mid-term, outputs were used from a California Energy Commission (CEC) study projecting the need for chargers in California. The study used the HEVI-Pro model to estimate electrical energy needs and number of chargers for the truck stock in several California cities. The CEC study outputs were used along with the TTM model outputs from this study to estimate charger needs and costs for six U.S. cities outside California. The LC and High ZEV scenarios reduced carbon emissions by 92% and 94% in the U.S. by 2050, respectively. Due to slow stock turnover, the LC and High ZEV scenarios contain significant numbers of ICE trucks. The biomass-based liquid volume reaches 70 (High ZEV) to 80 (LC) billion GGE by 2045. For the cities in this study, the charger cost ranges from $5 million to $2.6 billion in 2030 and from roughly $1 billion to almost $30 billion in 2040.

View the NCST Project Webpage

Cover page of Cargo Routing and Disadvantaged Communities

Cargo Routing and Disadvantaged Communities


Freight is fundamental to economic growth, however, the trucks that haul this freight are pollution intensive, emitting criteria pollutants and greenhouse gases at high rates. The increasing volume and time-sensitivity of freight demand over the past decade has encouraged carriers to take the fastest route, which is often not an eco-friendly route. The increase in urban freight movement has thus brought along negative externalities such as congestion, emissions, and noise into cities. Alternative fuel technologies, such as electric trucks and hydrogen-fuel trucks can significantly reduce freight-related emissions. However, despite their lower operational costs, the high purchase cost and consequent longer payback periods compared to traditional vehicles, have resulted in slow adoption rates. Since the need to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and local criteria pollutants is immediate, accounting for externalities in carriers’ tactical and operational decision-making in the form of eco-routing can bring about desired reductions in emissions. The objectives of this work are to explore the possibilities and potential of eco-routing from the perspective of the carrier, in terms of cost-benefits and trade-offs, and from the perspective of the regulator, in terms of network-wide effects and policy initiatives that could encourage carriers to eco-route. This study evaluates reduction in global greenhouse emissions and local criteria pollutants, with a particular focus on direct impacts on disadvantaged communities in the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) region.

Cover page of Hydrogen Infrastructure Requirements for Zero-Emission Freight Applications in California

Hydrogen Infrastructure Requirements for Zero-Emission Freight Applications in California


Zero-emission vehicles are seen as key technologies for reducing freight- related air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. California’s 2016 Sustainable Freight Action Plan established a target of 100,000 zero-emission freight vehicles utilizing renewable fuels by 2030. Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are a promising zero-emission technology, especially for applications where batteries might be difficult to implement, such as heavy-duty trucks, rail, shipping and aviation. However, California’s current hydrogen infrastructure is sparse, with about 25 stations, primarily sited to serve fuel cell passenger vehicles and buses. New infrastructure strategies will be critical for implementing hydrogen freight applications. The researchers analyzed hydrogen infrastructure requirements, focusing on hydrogen fuel cells in freight applications, using a California-specific EXCEL-based scenario model developed under the Sustainable Transportation Energy Pathways program (STEPS) at the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis (Miller et al, 2017). Hydrogen vehicle adoption and demand was estimated for trucks, rail, shipping, and aviation, for a range of scenarios out to 2050.

Cover page of Estimating the Costs of New Mobility Travel Options: Monetary and Non-Monetary Factors

Estimating the Costs of New Mobility Travel Options: Monetary and Non-Monetary Factors


UC Davis researchers have developed a cost model of travel choices that individuals make related to urban vehicle travel. These choices can include deciding to own, ride in, and drive a private vehicle or use pooled or solo ridesourcing (e.g., Uber). The model considers both monetary and non-monetary factors that affect travel choice. Monetary factors include the costs of purchasing, maintaining, and fueling different types of privately owned vehicles; and the cost of using ridesourcing services. Non-monetary (or “hedonic”) factors include travel time, parking time/inconvenience, willingness to drive or be a passenger in a driven or automated vehicle, and willingness to travel with strangers. The travel choices affected by these factors impact broader society through traffic congestion, pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, accidents, etc. and thus may be an important focus of policy. This report reviews recent literature, considers factors affecting travel choices, and reports, on a conjoint pilot survey or stated preferences. Finally, it considers approaches to apply time value to factors that are not typically associated with specific trips, such as time spent on vehicle maintenance and parking. The results should enable a deeper understanding of the likelihood that individuals will own and use private vehicles or use shared (solo and pooled) ridesourcing, and how automated vehicle services could affect these choices in the future. The study also highlights additional research needs, such as a large scale stated preference study covering more factors than have been included in previous studies.

View the NCST Project Webpage