The call is asking for a modular and flexible powertrain approach for large heavy-duty trucks which can serve varying mission demands (range, power and re-charging/-fuelling requirements) by varying battery/tank sizes to serve different missions and driving profiles within one vehicle platform.

Flexible vehicle platforms can allow the installation of modular powertrain solutions including either pure BEV/FCEV versions or hydrogen FC range extended battery vehicles, exploiting the scalability and modularity of the installed power units to allow cost efficient solutions for dedicated missions.

At least two different prototypes need to be demonstrated covering two different missions under operational conditions: one of which is mandatorily for long haul freight transport, as defined in expected outcomes, while the additional prototype(s) is/are open to Vehicle Group 4, 5, 9, 10, 11 or 12 of VECTO capable of operating at maximum gross vehicle weight (GVW) of minimum 40 tons under operational conditions comparable to the VECTO regional mission profile, and/or long distance coach(es).

Applicants should go beyond activities carried out by actions funded under topic HORIZON-CL5-2021-DEST5-CCT-01-01, avoiding duplication of activities already performed under this topic, as well as of activities developed by ongoing Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking projects140.

Proposals are expected to address the following:

  • Efficient energy/thermal management including the HVAC system and during ultra-fast charging both while driving and during breaks (including auxiliaries like overnight hotel and, optionally, refrigeration loads) achieving a minimum 44% energy efficiency in FC “charge sustaining mode” or 82% for BEV configurations (both at “tank-to-wheel” on the VECTO Regional Distribution and Long Haul cycles as appropriate).
  • For FC applications, the scalable power level of a hydrogen-based power unit for full power operation or range extension to vary power and range demands of different mission profiles is expected to demonstrate at least 90% availability and 30.000 hr FC operational life for safe and efficient operations, including scale-up options; (FC and tank development are excluded from this topic; suitable engagement with FCH projects needs to be foreseen).
  • For BEV long haul applications, demonstration of fast charging concepts, capable of fitting established regulations and business practices, with a range recovery of at least 400 km in 45 min, with an overall charge efficiency of at least 80%. The proposed solutions are expected to not reduce transport productivity (i.e. km per day, including driver resting time) and should be deployable at load/unload points and staging areas, while ensuring grid compatibility.
  • Demonstration of a delivery load capacity not less than 90% of a current such vehicle.
  • Improvement of inverter and DC/DC technologies integration in regard to optimized and novel cooling concepts and cost reduction, considering where appropriate synergies with HORIZON-CL5-2021-DEST5-CCT-01-02.
  • Improvement of specific central, high power electric motors or modular in-wheel motor concepts, considering where appropriate synergies with HORIZON-CL5-2022-DEST5-CCT-01-02.
  • Achievement of cost benefits by optimization of the control architecture.
  • Predictive maintenance strategies considering AI technologies, including deployment of prognostic and diagnostic techniques and control units in order to improve the lifetime of the fuel cells systems.
  • Show the minimum achievable impact on environment (GHG, polluting emissions, biodiversity, resources etc.) using a comparative life-cycle assessment.
  • Projects should deliver digital twin models of the demonstrator vehicles, such that the impact of the innovations towards the overall objectives of the 2Zero partnership might be determined prior to the completion of the project. Data that is produced as output from a ‘digital twin’ should be FAIR, deposition in relevant repositories should be encouraged141.
  • Price reduction resulting from economies of scale due to modularity and standardization of components in other truck, bus/coach (and where possible railway) applications (also creating links with on-going projects in the FCH partnership) with a clear roadmap for how to increase production numbers after the end of the project and for developing the necessary value chains. System level cost-effectiveness of solutions (including needed infrastructure) need to be analysed.
  • Develop and validate tools for zero tailpipe emission vehicles integration in fleets (and mixed fleets) for efficient assignment of tasks (routes, charging strategies, assignments etc.).
  • Identify European cross-border corridors with lower barriers or higher benefits to start market operations, along with possible future initiatives within the Connecting Europe Facility context.

This topic implements the co-programmed European Partnerships on ‘Towards zero emission road transport’ (2ZERO).