No. 31: Cost-efficient transition to clean energy transportation services

Abstract

Comprehensive global decarbonization will require that transportation services cease to rely on fossil fuels. Here we develop a generic life-cycle cost model to address two closely related questions central to the emergence of sustainable transportation: (i) the utilization rates (hours of operation) that rank-order alternative drivetrains in terms of their cost, and (ii) the cost-efficient share of clean energy drivetrains in a vehicle fleet of competing drivetrains. Calibrating our model framework in the context of urban transit buses, we examine how the comparison between diesel and battery-electric buses varies with the specifics of the duty cycle (route). We find that even for less favorable duty cycles, battery-electric buses will entail lower life-cycle costs once utilization rates exceed 20% of the annual hours. Yet, the current economics of that particular application still calls for a one-third share of diesel drivetrains in a cost-efficient fleet.

Participating Institutions

TRR 266‘s main locations are Paderborn University (Coordinating University), HU Berlin, and University of Mannheim. All three locations have been centers for accounting and tax research for many years. They are joined by researchers from LMU Munich, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, ESMT Berlin, Goethe University Frankfurt and Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg who share the same research agenda.