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Symbolfoto: Das AIT ist Österreichs größte außeruniversitäre Forschungseinrichtung

Efficient and Affordable Zero Emission Logistics Through the Next Generation of Electric Trucks

The transport industry is responsible for 37% of CO2 emissions in the EU, with medium-duty trucks accounting for 25% of these emissions. This fleet of around 1.1 million vehicles shows a steady increase. Against the background of the current European climate targets, there is considerable potential for decarbonizing vehicle fleets and accelerating a sustainable market launch.

As part of the NextETRUCK consortium, vehicle and component manufacturers, research institutions and other partners are working together on innovative vehicle concepts for medium-duty trucks that are specially designed for use in urban and suburban environments. Optimization takes place both at component level (e-drive or charging infrastructure) and at vehicle architecture level in terms of energy efficiency, costs, flexibility and environmental friendliness.

To achieve its goals, NextETRUCK is planning to set up three pilot sites in Istanbul (Turkey), Utrecht (Netherlands) and Barcelona (Spain). The project aims to

  • Develop concepts for regional medium-heavy freight transportation that enable an energy efficiency increase of at least 10% compared to the best current electric vehicles.
  • Develop new fleet management tools and charging infrastructure to ensure full electrification in the operation of zero-emission vehicles and optimize energy efficiency.
  • Prepare demonstrators for fast charging stations.
  • Offer new business models to increase end-user acceptance and promote the market launch of project solutions.
  • Contribute to the achievement of climate targets, especially in the area of local air quality.

AIT is contributing to this joint initiative by carrying out the numerical analysis of thermal performance, developing an innovative design for the e-truck cabin and playing a key role in the creation of the digital twin.

Mirza Popovac, responsible for the European research project at AIT, explains: "Within the NextETRUCK project, we will investigate a series of energy efficiency measures for truck cabins, such as the implementation of infra-red heating panels, the re-design of the HVAC system with heat recovery or the development of a digital-twin based control strategy for thermal management. Crucially, the practical viability of these measures will be rigorously assessed: the NextETRUCK final stage envisions the implementation and demonstration of the project developments on three pilot sites to validate their feasibility and performance compared to existing systems for medium-duty trucks. In this way, we want to make a significant contribution to decarbonization in the logistics sector."


NextETRUCK has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 101056740.