Zero-Emission Trucks: Batteries or Fuel Cells?

The truck industry is at a turning point. Truck OEMs and suppliers to the market are increasingly investing in the development of zero-emission powertrains for fear of being left behind, as the market transitions away from fossil fuels. With tightening legislation around exhaust CO2 emission and growing effort to limit the emissions of hazardous air pollutants in populous areas, there is now widespread recognition that cleaner sources of power are required to drive future medium and heavy-duty trucks. It is not possible for diesel truck fuel efficiency improvements to deliver the targeted level of emission reduction, with many governments having set goals that effectively demand net zero carbon emission from the on-road transport sector within the next 30-years. As major corporations make their own pledges to reduce the climate impact of their operations, these companies are looking to truck OEMs to deliver the vehicles that enable them to reduce the carbon footprint of their truck fleet.
The future is battery electric and fuel cell trucks which deliver zero on-road emissions and protect people from PM and NOx emissions. However, there are considerable challenges to be overcome before zero-emission trucks can displace diesel trucks in all applications. They must be able to deliver sufficient range and flexibility of operation to meet the daily duty-cycle requirements of fleet operators, with the same, or preferably better, reliability and performance as today's combustion engine trucks. They must also offer a total cost of ownership that is economically viable. Battery electric truck models are now becoming available, and although capable of meeting many urban and regional delivery duty cycles, current Li-ion battery technology limits their ability to deliver long-haul applications. It is these longer-range applications where fuel cells, using pressurized hydrogen as fuel, are being touted as the zero-emission solution.
In this webinar, IDTechEx Technology Analyst Dr David Wyatt will discuss IDTechEx's analysis of this rapidly developing market. Insights will be presented from the new IDTechEx report "Electric and Fuel Cell Trucks 2023-2043" including:
  • The 2021 sales of zero-emission trucks and the addressable market
  • What zero-emission trucks need to deliver for commercial rollout
  • Key enabling technologies: batteries / motors / charging
  • The role of battery and fuel cell trucks
  • IDTechEx's outlook for zero-emission truck deployment


Dr David Wyatt
Dr David Wyatt
Senior Technology Analyst