Engineering consultancy Ricardo has started work on a project to develop zero emission, flexible vehicle platforms with modular powertrains for the long-distance heavy transportation sector.
The program, named ZEFES, is co-funded by the European Commission and consists of five truck and two trailer OEMs, suppliers, logistic operators and research partners aiming to accelerate the integration of zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) for use within long-distance heavy transportation. During the program, partners will focus on improving vehicle efficiency, enhancing mass production capabilities and demonstrating the use of the technologies in daily operations.
By 2025, ZEFES seeks to deliver a total of nine different vehicles which have completed one million test kilometers across EU corridors under real-world conditions, all guided and validated by a digital platform. The vehicles will carry more than 40 metric tons across distances of up to 750km to test electric vehicle and fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) trucks against real-world performance requirements. Additionally, the program aims to better understand infrastructure needs.
For the program, Ricardo will provide a digital simulation platform to enable the modeling of a range of vehicle operations and technology over the routes, and validation of the tests. The gathered data will support the removal of ambiguity of long-term investment decisions for fleet operators that are looking to buy new technologies and for local governments seeking to make decisions on new infrastructure.
“This is an important project in supporting the development of zero emissions in the long-haul freight industry,” said Adrian Schaffer, president of emerging mobility at Ricardo. “It will enable OEMs to make informed technology-led strategic decisions to deliver future mobility solutions to the logistics sector. Companies operating in this industry already face considerable challenges from the increasing cost of fuel to the impact of geopolitical and economic uncertainty; technology is supporting them to de-risk. We look forward to continuing to work on the project alongside other consortium members, using our expertise to inform investment decisions.”
Fernando Liesa, secretary general of ALICE, the Alliance for Logistics Innovation through Collaboration in Europe, added, “The ZEFES project will support the road transport and logistics ecosystem to accelerate the adoption of zero emissions road transport technologies in Europe by addressing the required interdependencies across sectors: energy, charging, vehicles and users. Bringing together a consortium of partners and experts in the industry, such as Ricardo, is an important element in achieving success and developing solutions that create future mobility strategies within this important area of the industry.”