Case Study: Ricardo Strategic Consulting conducted an evaluation of the North American truck market for application of H2 fuel cells

Case Study: Ricardo Strategic Consulting conducted an evaluation of the North American truck market for application of H2 fuel cells

Challenge

 

Commercial vehicles are used in significantly different vocations varying from local delivery to interstate transit to people movement. These vocations have different characteristics and will represent different opportunities for fuel cell operation. Although fleet buying decisions are mostly driven by economics, there are vocations with a strong desire and/or mandates for ultra-low and zero-emission operation. The objective is to understand the characteristic of the North American truck market and identify early adopters of fuel cell technology and the addressable market size.

Approach

  • A PESTEL analysis was completed during which a framework of macro-economic factors impacting the implementation of fuel cell vehicles was defined

  • Incentives and grants related to purchasing  zero-emission or near-zero-emission MD and HD vehicles were reviewed
  • Vocational vehicle classes and characteristics were studied, and powertrain cost road map was developed
  • A total cost of ownership and payback analysis was done to compare economics of competing powertrain technologies - fuel cell, battery, natural gas, and diesel
  • Addressable market size for selected vocations was estimated

Recommendation 

  • Commercial vehicle segments and market entry points identified based on value proposition of hydrogen fuel cells, competitive landscape, barriers to entry, and regulatory drivers
  • End-user (fleet) insight, characteristics and potential for adoption of hydrogen fuel cell powertrains

Results

Suitable vocations for the adoption of fuel cell technology were identified based on economic evaluation and non-economic practical considerations.

Vocational attributes favored by fuel cell propulsion systems were understood and used as a basis for identifying other suitable vocations in the truck segment.