LT.20.004 – Smart and sustainable road transport vehicles

Route: Logistics and transport in an energetic, innovative, and sustainable society

Cluster question: 28 How can more fuel-efficient ships, aeroplanes, cars, lorries, trains and other means of transport contribute to the energy efficiency and environmental-friendliness of the overall transport system?

Whereas in many sectors the CO2 emissions are being reduced, for road transport they are still increasing, which is not in line with the European Green Deal. Experiences with High Capacity Vehicles show that emissions and total costs of ownership (TCO) can be lowered considerably at the same time. A step towards larger vehicle combinations requires a fundamental change of the vehicle powertrain lay-out, a distributed and electro/hybridized propulsion is needed. Still the standardized loading units should be maintained and the vehicle combination should still be compatible with the existing road infrastructure. A possible solution is highly actuated converter dolly, which host an electric powertrain and has multiple steerable axles. The steered axles allow to reduce the space required on the road for this combination (e.g. turn radius and swept path). To enhance the productivity and safety the dolly can operate autonomously at a restricted area, e.g. a distribution center. Preliminary research has already been done and shows that a CO2 reduction potential of about 30% with respect to a conventional tractor semi-trailer is achievable. This reduction is a result of the efficient electric powertrain being able for example to recuperate brake energy and a vehicle configuration which has less aerodynamic drag. Within this initiative we want to design a prototype of this highly actuated converter dolly, including packaging, powertrain design and control, steering system control and autonomous operation at a yard. The requirements and boundary conditions for this design have to be defined by all relevant stake holders. This initiative fits well within the primary NWA route, highly innovative Dutch logistics sector and vehicle industry.


autonomous vehicles, CO2, high capacity vehicles, hybrid/electric powertrain, road safety emissions, smart yard

Other organisations

HAN University of Applied Sciences


Organisation TU Eindhoven (TU/e)
Name Dr. I.J.M. (Igo) Besselink