The potential of electric trucks – An international commodity-level analysis

Heikki Liimatainen, Oscar van Vliet, David Aplyn

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    32 Citations (Scopus)
    130 Downloads (Pure)


    Development of battery technology is making battery electric heavy duty trucks technically and commercially viable and several manufacturers have introduced battery electric trucks recently. However, the national and sectoral differences in freight transport operations affect the viability of electric trucks. The aim of this paper is to develop a methodology for estimating the potential of electric trucks and demonstrate the results in Switzerland and Finland. Commodity-level analysis of the continuous road freight survey data were carried out in both countries. As much as 71% of Swiss road freight transport tonne-kilometers may be electrified using battery electric trucks but Finland has very limited potential of 35%, due to the use of long and heavy truck-trailer combinations. Within both countries the electrification potential varies considerably between commodities, although in Finland more so than in Switzerland. Commodities which are constrained by payload volume rather than weight and are to large extent carried using medium duty or <26t rigid trucks trucks seem to provide high potential for electrification even with the current technology. Electric trucks increase the annual electricity consumption by only 1–3%, but truck charging is likely to have a large impact on local grids near logistics centres and rest stations along major roads. A spatial analysis by routing the trips reported in the datasets used in this study should be carried out. Future research should also include comparison between the alternate ways of electrifying road freight transport, i.e. batteries with charging, batteries with battery swapping and electrified road systems.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)804-814
    Number of pages11
    JournalApplied Energy
    Early online date14 Dec 2018
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2019
    Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • Charging infrastructure
    • Electric trucks
    • Logistics
    • Road freight transport

    Publication forum classification

    • Publication forum level 2

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Building and Construction
    • General Energy
    • Mechanical Engineering
    • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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