Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

European research into the next generation of vehicles

The EUREKA initiative for European research cooperation supports a significant number of projects which aim to develop new environmentally-friendly vehicles, many running wholly or partly on electric motors.

A large number of projects, many of which involve major European car...
The EUREKA initiative for European research cooperation supports a significant number of projects which aim to develop new environmentally-friendly vehicles, many running wholly or partly on electric motors.

A large number of projects, many of which involve major European car manufacturers, are currently developing new technologies such as pure electric and hybrid vehicles, gas turbines, fuel cells, on-board chemical refineries, flywheels, ultra-light materials, engines running on natural gas, alcohol and biofuels. Each of these has the overall aim of reducing pollution from vehicles powered by traditional internal combustion engines, one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gases and other major pollutants.

The broad range of technologies being researched are mostly still early in their development, and as yet no clear leader has emerged as the standard. However, EUREKA-supported projects are contributing to research in many fields, ensuring that European scientists are at the forefront of developments. Examples of EUREKA projects in the field include:

- The CityBee is a light-weight two-seater electric car, designed by a group of Norwegian researchers, which is aimed at urban drivers;

- ELEGIE is a four-seater prototype electric car developed by Renault which has a range of 200km, double that of most electric vehicles of a similar size.

A number of projects are developing bi-modal or hybrid vehicles, which have both electric and traditional motors. These vehicles would normally run on the petrol/diesel engine on open roads, but would switch to using the electric motor in congested urban environments, where pollution is worst. In this way, the vehicles retain the long-distance performance, both in terms of speed and range, of conventional vehicles but minimize emissions in urban environments. Examples of hybrid and bi-modal projects supported by EUREKA are:

- ELECTRE has developed both pure electric and bi-modal versions of waste collection vehicles, which are already operating in Paris;

- AGATA aims to develop a gas turbine, normally used for aeroplanes, for cars, to be used in hybrid vehicles. Gas turbines run on less refined, and therefore less expensive, fuel and produce lower levels of emissions than internal combustion engines.

In the shorter term, another EUREKA project, E-AUTO, is investigating ways in which technologies already available can be used to make enormous improvements to the fuel efficiency of conventional cars.

Source: EUREKA Secretariat

Related information

Programmes

Follow us on: RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Managed by the EU Publications Office Top