Heavy electric trucks cheaper than diesel goods trucks

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Trucks on highway
Electric goods trucks on highway

There are around 450,000 electric cars in Sweden today, but what about heavy electric goods trucks? Researchers at Chalmers have now shown that heavy goods trucks powered by electricity can be cheaper to run than diesel - something that many, a few years ago, thought would be impossible.

Johannes Karlsson

“I was surprised by the result and didn't think it would be so good,” says Johannes Karlsson, PhD student at Automatic Control at the Department of Electrical Engineering.

Johannes Karlsson has researched a method where driving patterns can be used to choose the right size of battery. More specifically, their study was inspired by a real haulage company, which runs fixed routes between Helsingborg and Stockholm.

“In the study, the goods trucks are used to pick up and drop off cargo during the day and long-distance transport at night. We have compared two battery sizes with two scenarios for the price of fast charging. That type of heavy truck looks like it can be electrified in a cost-effective way.”

The results show that the smaller battery is the most cost-effective, provided that the price of public fast charging is low, which should be reasonable according to the study. The advantage of the smaller battery is that you can carry heavier loads, while the advantage of the larger battery is that you don't have to use fast charging and instead charge more cheaply in the company's own depots.

“It is possible to electrify heavy goods trucks that drive long distances, so that it will be as cheap or cheaper than diesel goods trucks, if you drive in the right way. The battery size can be determined by whether you are driving a light load, such as packages or vegetables, or if you are driving a heavy load, such as drinks or wood.”

In the study, the diesel price is set at a low 1.20 Euro/litre, e.g. VAT. The conclusion is that driving heavy electric goods trucks can still be cheaper than diesel goods trucks.

“We hope that positive results of this type can contribute to a faster transition from today's diesel trucks, and that in the long run they will be completely replaced,” concludes Johannes Karlsson.

Read the scientific article Case Study of Cost-Effective Electrification of Long-Distance Line-Haul Trucks, Johannes Karlsson and Anders Grauers”, publicerad I energies år 2023.


  • Collaboration: Trippel F project (Trafikverket) and Volvo Trucks.
  • Financiers: Trafikverket

For more information, contact:

Johan Karlsson
  • Full Professor, Computer and Network Systems, Computer Science and Engineering


Sandra Tavakoli