Addressing the demand side, particularly the concerns of cost-conscious and less technology-savvy small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), is critical for the future uptake of zero-emission trucks (ZETs). 

To address the question, this study took Guangdong as an example and assessed the techno-economic feasibility of ZETs from 2022 to 2030 across 14 use cases, considering operational feasibility, purchase cost gaps between ZETs and diesel trucks, and total cost of ownership (TCO) parity years relative to diesel trucks. We identified the use cases with near-term ZET transition opportunities, and explored the roles played by technological development, policy incentives, operational improvements, and business models in advancing ZETs’ TCO (and purchase cost) parity years relative to diesel trucks. We also evaluated the applicability of this study’s conclusions to other Chinese regions.