21 Dec 2022

A Mapping of Technology Options for Sustainable Energies and Powertrains for Road Transport

In December 2022, the European Road Transport Research Advisory Council (ERTRAC) adopted during its plenary meeting a new document entitled “A Mapping of Technology Options for Sustainable Energies and Powertrains for Road Transport - Towards Electrification and other Renewable Energy Carriers”.

This document was triggered by the desire to have a “system” approach encompassing Energy Carriers, Powertrain Options and Infrastructure Aspects, as well as User Considerations instead of considering them separately. It includes the aspects related to the ERTRAC “Timeline to carbon-neutrality” and the well-to-wheel perspective for a carbon-neutral road transport in 2050 (presentation and draft paper).

This document was coordinated by the Energy & Environment working group of ERTRAC, and benefited from the contribution of more than 50 authors affiliated to:

  • The auto, truck and motorcycle industries;
  • The energy industry;
  • The energy and road infrastructure stakeholders;
  • The universities and research centers;
  • The users, service providers and cities.

This document provides the perspective of the broader research community over the different technology options to address the environmental and energy challenges for road transport, specifically targeted towards GHG-neutrality. It is a technology mapping of all the options of road transport with sustainable energies and powertrains, including:

  • Renewable and low-carbon energy carriers: electricity, liquid fuels and gaseous fuels
  • Powertrain options: Battery Electric Vehicles, Batteries, Electrified Road Systems, Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles, Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles and Hybrids, Complementary Driveline aspects
  • Infrastructures: for electricity, liquid and gaseous fuels, and for road-related aspects
  • A systemic view

Whilst this document does not define a unique pathway towards GHG-neutrality in road transport (which was not expected given the complexity of the topic and the variety of the authors affiliations), it still concludes that “a rapid and effective reduction in GHG emissions, as targeted in the European Green Deal, can be achieved in an optimal way via a simultaneous, ambitious, electrification of road traffic and the development of renewable fuels”.

The last chapter provides a mapping of the potential research needs in the technical areas covered by the document aimed towards GHG-neutrality.

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