Evaluation of Hybrid, Electric and Fuel Cell Powertrain Solutions for Class 6-7 Medium Heavy-Duty Vehicles

SAE WCX Digital Summit
Authors Abstract
Electrification of heavy-duty trucks has received significant attention in the past year as a result of future regulations in some states. For example, California will require a certain percentage of tractor trailers, delivery trucks and vans sold to be zero emission by 2035. However, the relatively low energy density of batteries in comparison to diesel fuel, as well as the operating profiles of heavy-duty trucks, make the application of electrified powertrain in these applications more challenging. Heavy-duty vehicles can be broadly classified into two main categories; long-haul tractors and vocational vehicles. Long-haul tractors offer limited benefit from electrification due to the majority of operation occurring at constant cruise speeds, long range requirements and the high efficiency provided by the diesel engine. However, vocational applications can realize a significant benefit from electrified powertrains due to their lower vehicle speeds, frequent start-stop driving and shorter operating range requirements.
As the heavy-duty industry deals with solving challenges around the application of electrified powertrains, there are multiple pathways that can be explored to meet future regulatory requirements. This paper is the second part of a two-paper series that focuses on evaluating electrified solutions for Class 6-7 medium heavy-duty vehicles in the 2027 and beyond time frame. Using a model-based approach, this paper presents a comprehensive analysis that compares the baseline diesel powertrain against multiple alternative powertrain configurations. These configurations include, an optimized parallel diesel hybrid, all-electric, diesel range extender, gasoline range extender, Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) range extender, and fuel cell range extender; which are evaluated on the basis of cost of ownership, fuel efficiency, emissions, payback period, lost payload opportunity, range, and battery life. The analysis shows that for a near-term less-disruptive scenario wherein the conventional diesel powertrain layout is preserved, a 48V P3 parallel hybrid vehicle configuration is the most cost-effective solution, while for a near-term more-disruptive scenario, the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) based Range Extender Electric Vehicles (REEVs) have the most potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while achieving lower cost of ownership than the baseline vehicle. For a longer-term and more-disruptive scenario, the all-electric vehicle configuration can achieve parity with the baseline vehicle cost of ownership provided the vehicle driving range requirement is limited to 100-150 miles. The analysis further highlights that the overall benefit of an all-electric powertrain solution depends significantly on the future battery technology advancements and vehicle range requirements.
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Joshi, S., Dahodwala, M., Ahuja, N., Dhanraj, F. et al., "Evaluation of Hybrid, Electric and Fuel Cell Powertrain Solutions for Class 6-7 Medium Heavy-Duty Vehicles," SAE Int. J. Adv. & Curr. Prac. in Mobility 3(6):2955-2971, 2021, https://doi.org/10.4271/2021-01-0723.
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Apr 6, 2021
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Journal Article