The transport sector in the European Union (EU) is responsible for more than 25% of its total greenhouse gas emissions, making it one of the most challenging sectors to decarbonize. Heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs) in particular, didn’t witness the same reduction in CO2 emissions as passenger vehicles over the past decade, mainly due to the lack of regulatory framework. However, with the recent CO2 emission standards for HDVs in the EU (first introduced in 2019) this trend is about to change as many vehicle manufacturers are pursuing alternative electrified powertrain technologies for HDVs. While most European truck manufacturers have been developing several battery-electric and fuel-cell hydrogen trucks models, very few have shown interest in developing diesel-electric hybrid trucks, a technology that led transition towards the electrification of the passenger vehicle sector over the past the decade.
This study investigates the technology potential and economic viability of hybrid trucks in Europe. For this purpose, a Diesel hybrid electric truck multi-physical model was built and simulated in the software Amesim®, with the support of its Hybrid Optimization Tool, to estimate the truck energy efficiency and CO2 reduction potential. The model was based on a real, among the few existing, hybrid electric truck operating in urban delivery, with gross vehicle weight of more than 16 tons. The project also entails a technology economical assessment that involves a total cost of ownership (TCO) analysis, of the studied hybrid truck, to allow a direct techno-economic comparison relative to its diesel counterpart.
The results show that the simulated Diesel-electric hybrid truck would have better fuel economy, about 47%, and would decrease CO2 emissions (around 41%), when compared to its equivalent Diesel counterpart, for the urban application. Whereas the economic study shows that hybrid trucks were already economically viable in the year of 2022, having a TCO 15% lower than the diesel truck, and this percentage is expected to increase to 23% in 2030.
After analyzing both technical and economical results, it is reasonable to conclude that Diesel-electric hybrid trucks, for urban delivery application, are a feasible and economically viable solution to reduce CO2 emissions.
The study had some limitations, among them it can be mentioned the robustness of the multi-physical model and simulations done in Amesim®. Regarding TCO analysis, it is sensitive towards various factors like fuel price fluctuations, energy cost, etc. Hence, the predictions could be affected in the coming years.
Ing. Hugo MAUGERE, IFP School