Retail Infrastructure Costs Comparison for Hydrogen and Electricity for Light-Duty Vehicles: Preprint

Marc Melaina, Brian Bush, Yongling Sun

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Both hydrogen and plug-in electric vehicles offer significant social benefits to enhance energy security and reduce criteria and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector. However, the rollout of electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) and hydrogen retail stations (HRS) requires substantial investments with high risks due to many uncertainties. We compare retail infrastructure costs on a common basis - cost per mile, assuming fueling service to 10% of all light-duty vehicles in a typical 1.5 million person city in 2025. Our analysis considers three HRS sizes, four distinct types of EVSE and two distinct EVSE scenarios. EVSE station costs, including equipment and installation, are assumed to be 15% less than today's costs. We find that levelized retail capital costs per mile are essentially indistinguishable given the uncertainty and variability around input assumptions. Total fuel costs per mile for battery electric vehicle (BEV) and plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) are, respectively, 21% lower and 13% lower than that for hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) under the home-dominant scenario. Including fuel economies and vehicle costs makes FCEVs and BEVs comparable in terms of costs per mile, and PHEVs are about 10% less than FCEVs and BEVs. To account for geographic variability in energy prices and hydrogen delivery costs, we use the Scenario Evaluation, Regionalization and Analysis (SERA) model and confirm the aforementioned estimate of cost per mile, nationally averaged, but see a 15% variability in regional costs of FCEVs and a 5%variability in regional costs for BEVs.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages14
StatePublished - 2014
EventSAE 2014 World Congress and Exhibition - Detroit, Michigan
Duration: 7 Apr 201411 Apr 2014


ConferenceSAE 2014 World Congress and Exhibition
CityDetroit, Michigan

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5400-60944


  • electric vehicle supply equipment
  • electricity
  • EVSE
  • hydrogen
  • infrastructure
  • station cost


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