Project Summary, Objectives and Expected Impacts
The transport sector contributes to about 25% of total CO2 emissions in the EU and is the only sector where the trend is still increasing. Taking into account the growing demand on the road transport system and the ambitious targets of the EC’s Transport White Paper, it is paramount to increase the efficiency of freight transport.
The vision of the AEROFLEX project is to support vehicle manufacturers and the logistics industry to achieve the coming challenges for road transport. The overall objective of the AEROFLEX project is to develop and demonstrate new technologies, concepts and architectures for complete vehicles with optimised aerodynamics, powertrains and safety systems as well as flexible and adaptable loading units with advanced interconnectedness contributing to the vision of a “physical internet”. The optimal matching of novel vehicle concepts and infrastructures is highly important, requiring the definition of smart infrastructure access policies for the next generation of trucks, load carriers and road infrastructure.
The specific technical objectives, main innovations and targeted key results are:
- Characterise the European freight transport market (map, quantify and predict), the drivers, the constraints, the trends, and the mode and vehicle choice criteria.
- Develop new concepts and technologies for trucks with reduced drag, which are safer, comfortable, configurable and cost effective and ensure satisfaction of intermodal customer needs under varying transport tasks and conditions.
- Demonstrate potential truck aerodynamics and energy management improvements with associated impact assessments of the new vehicle concepts, technologies and features developed in the AEROFLEX project.
- Drafting of coherent recommendations for revising standards and legislative frameworks in order to allow the new aerodynamic and flexible vehicle concepts on the road.
The AEROFLEX project will develop the knowledge, concepts and technology to improve the efficiency of long-range freight vehicles by 18-33% while drawing up recommendations for implementing the results within European regulations and in the transport & logistic industry.
The overall efficiency target is broken down as follows:
- 4-5% energy saving by separate platforms;
- 4-6% energy saving by using loading space more effectively;
- 5-12% energy efficiency improvement from the integration of more flexible, advanced powertrains;
- 5-10% reduction in energy consumption through improved truck aerodynamics;
- standardised interfaces and the resulting sharing of components leading to higher economies of scale;
- front end designs to ensure survivability in crashes up to 50 km/h for occupants and vulnerable road users.