CARB Assessment Shows BEVs Are Starting To Penetrate Medium And Heavy-Duty Truck/Bus Markets

NOV 10 2015 BY MARK KANE 38

Wanxiang, who has purchased 80% of A123, supplier of the batteries in Smith Electric uses

Heavy weight electrification coming

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) released an extended report on electrification of heavy-duty vehicles – Technology Assessment: Medium- And Heavy- Duty Battery Electric Trucks And Buses.

According to the draft, there are still less than 500 battery electric buses and medium- to heavy-duty trucks in California, although ARB sees growth:

“Overall, the assessment finds that BEVs are beginning to penetrate the medium- and heavy-duty vehicle markets. Battery electric transit buses are increasingly available from a variety of manufacturers. Some school buses are commercially available. Battery electric shuttle buses are also increasingly available, as are other medium-duty BEVs, primarily delivery vehicles. Currently, BEVS in the marketplace typically use lithium-ion battery chemistries. Class 8 heavy-duty trucks remain a significant challenge.”

Interesting is the forecast on electric truck costs. According to CALSTART, in 2012 electric a truck with a 350 kWh battery was three times more expensive than a diesel truck, and by 2020 still will cost twice as much:

Table V-2: CALSTART Estimations of BEV Drayage Truck Costs Over Time

Table V-2: CALSTART Estimations of BEV Drayage Truck Costs Over Time

Source The California Air Resources Board via Green Car Congress

Categories: Bus, General, Trucks

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply

38 Comments on "CARB Assessment Shows BEVs Are Starting To Penetrate Medium And Heavy-Duty Truck/Bus Markets"

newest oldest most voted

They are showing $600/kWh for 2012. Today we are at a quarter of the cost with GM’s disclosure of the LG Chem batteries costing $145/kWh. Even if that is at the cell level, we are at maybe $300/kWh today.

Minus expensive diesel and low maintenance, paypack should be much faster with those battery economics.

Sorry, I meant $200/kWh today.

Afaik, what GM pays LG for the cells and they build the packs themselves. They need some operating margin, recoup development, SG & A, warranty repairs, etc.

All included, my guess is that end user price is closer to $300/kWh.

Looks like they’ve got sufficient margin to buy an insurance policy to handle warranty cost and still make a fat profit.

If you assume Tesla’s battery costs are $250/kWh (which most estimates are around), and you apply that to this size pack you get roughly $90k today (before any profit).

I would suggest these companies just find a way to chain Model S packs and buy them from Tesla.

Agreed and GM already said they are paying LG 145$/kwh.

Pretty sure that is cell cost. i.e. no wiring, no pack enclosure, no BMS, no cooling system, no charging contactor.

Pack cost and cell cost are different. Tesla pack cost is estimated somewhere around $250/kWh or ~$25k for a Model S 85 kWh pack.

It also doesn’t include the cost of the labor/machines for doing the assembly, for installing the pack in the car and for testing the completed packs. That’s not negligible — a faulty high-voltage, high-amperage pack would be pretty dangerous.

It’s disappointing that CARB would use such outdated prices on battery costs. That’s pretty usual in official reports, though.

If you ignore costs, batteries work better in tracks (or trucks) than in small cars. The problem is the users demand even more.

Put in a more realistic $250/kWh for battery cost and we’re down to an $83,500 premium. Using $150/kWh like GM has quoted and your at less than 2025 premium levels.
Things are moving so fast the analysts can’t keep up.

It would help if people would bother to read the report (91 pages incl. appendices and sources) before commenting. From the executive summary, note on page ES-7:

“Battery costs for the light-duty fleet are approaching the $200/kWh range. Costs for medium- and heavy-duty vehicle battery packs tend to be higher due to issues such as different chemistries for different duty cycles, ruggedization needs, and expected
useful life.”

Note that these are all pack costs, not cell costs.

Battery packs for trucks are three times the cost per kWh?

I call B.S. on that one. Lower volume means higher unit cost, but three times as much is ridiculous. And I don’t believe there is any valid reason why “ruggedizing” it should cost a large fraction of the cell cost.

If they are hand made, 1 off packs, 10x cost wouldn’t be surprising. That is why I suggested someone just purchase compete packs from Tesla and limit their scope to writing BMS software.

“Things are moving so fast the analysts can’t keep up.” +10 You made the point! They are trying to predict 2030… If they are off with their estimated cost reduction by only some percent that error will propagate. example: Let’s start with a cell level price of 200$/kWh in 2015 at a price reduction rate of 10% per year we’ll have: 2016: 180$/kWh 2017: 162$/kWh 2018: 146$/kWh 2019: 131$/kWh 2020: 118$/kWh 2021: 106$/kWh I’ll stop here cause I don’t think that trend will continue forever… They go up to 2030… At 5% price reduction per year the whole story looks different. 2016: 190$/kWh 2017: 180$/kWh 2018: 171$/kWh 2019: 163$/kWh 2020: 155$/kWh 2021: 147$/kWh All those analyses are just shots in the dark. There is no way to predict if some observed trend will continue, accelerate, decellerate or be disrupted by some breakthrough. The one argument that pack-level-cost are so much higher will not hold for a long time IMO. Battery packs can be as simple as just adding a case and some wiring to keep cells together or be as complex as containing BMS for each cell and sensors and cooling and so on… With increasing cell quality the need… Read more »

I would like to start seeing some EV RVs based on these EV truck frames. Maybe they could partner with Tesla so that they could use the Tesla Supercharger network. An EV RV powered by wind turbines, that really would be a prairie schooner.

EV RV sounds redundant. I guess we should call them ERV for Electric Recreational Vehicle.

Haha, +2, an ERV is my wife’s dream…

Or how about an REV, Recreational Electric Vehicle?

ERV should be a great market once the DCFC infrastructure gets established. Most RV buyers buy with their emotions more than their pocket books. If RV buyers could buy an ERV with decent range and had plenty of places to charge quickly I think many of them would be more than willing to spend a little extra money for a zero emission ERV. I know I would love to travel the country guilt free in an ERV. Hey, there’s the marketing slogan, “Guilt Free in an ERV”.

and RV vehicle buyers usually have a lot of time, so they wouldn’t even need those fast charging… Add some solar to the roof and be relaxed and free!!! 😉

I’ve thought about all of this. You could charge using the NEMA 14-50r plugs at RV parks. With a 350 kWh battery pack you would be limited to about 175 miles per day, assuming an average of 500 watts per mile and one overnight charge per day. That would be okay if you were never in a hurry. I would prefer having DCFC capabilities. The PV charger on the roof would not be very practical. You might be able to get 30 kWh per day out a roof mounted PV array, it would take two weeks for the PV array to charge the battery pack.

If an RV manufacturer teamed up with Tesla then you could get an ERV with Autopilot, then the driver could relax and enjoy the scenery. The marketing slogan could be, “I’m a Tesla ERV, Leave the Driving to Me”. I know, it needs a little work.

Then there’d be apocryphal stories about RV drivers turning cruise on, taking a nap in the back and not crashing.

350kWh! One full charge and there goes my monthly allotment for base rate electricity!

Do electric busses and trucks get any discount on electricity? If not, they might end up being more expensive to “fuel” than diesel cars with ripoff pricing for higher tier.

Bus services and local trucking companies could get a negotiated rate. Long haul truckers would have to pay the prevailing rate but the truck stops that serve them could get a negotiated rate.

That’s meaningless unless you know the vehicle’s range. In response to another article, I used this calculator:

I sketched out the dimensions of a very aerodynamic, low-profile cross-country bus using known technology and found that it could operate at 60 mph at less than 500 wh/mile, which is maybe 1/4 diesel costs. Of course you can’t get this by converting an existing bus chassis to electric.

They wouldn’t be paying under the same system as a consumer. The more a business uses, the less they pay per kWh (to an extent).

So, you know nothing of commercial power contracts, either, SparkEV.

You mean Trucks rather than Tracks?

“CARB Assessment Shows BEVs Are Starting To Penetrate Medium And Heavy-Duty Track/Bus Markets”

Is there an editor in the house?

I think that headline is supposed to read “…Heavy-Duty Truck/Bus Markets”

Shhh! That would ruin my comment above!

No clue what you guys are talking about, headline totally says “truck”


This article doesn’t tell the whole story. The articles I’ve seen on electric buses indicate that the purchase decisions are being made based on life cycle cost. Electric buses are getting purchased based on life cycle cost because the projected energy and maintenance costs are lower. I bet the CARB report referenced in this article also discusses life cycle costs.

Eagerly await the CO2-mobile of Europe being applied to heavy vehicles, i.e., the motor does the heavy lifting of 0-~5mph and the engine then ‘takes over’, said engine tuned to whatever speed is ‘normal’, hopefully Much smaller and more fuel-efficient. 40kWh pack easily charged with plug,gen or regen.
Plug at stations and rest stop serves all interior functions so no need to Idle the diesel for hours (maybe).

Battery-heavy? been discussed to death, I cannot see that happening – too much battery, too little range, too long to recharge, heavy trans ain’t going there IMHO.

FCEV -might- work, but cost will be outrageous compared to diesel, so unlikely in the coming decade, but nice to imagine a Truck Stop with windmills merrily creating H2

I know BEV means battery-based, but isn’t CARB at all interested in the old-style, overhead catenary-based battery-less electric buses?
IN cities where they already existed, I would think they would still make sense to maintain, at least for the major bus routes.
I remember quite a few cities having them in the late 1970s… Have they completely disappeared from US cities in the meantime?

Bombardier will offer one soon.

Someone please tell me where they are buying batteries under $200/kWh…. I seriously have an order ready.