Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP6

HOST — Result In Brief

Project ID: 12555
Funded under: FP6-SUSTDEV
Country: Italy

Clean, green traffic-busting machine

Traffic is one of the biggest problems facing Europe's cities choking streets, burning precious fossil fuels and polluting the environment. European engineers developed a highly innovative multipurpose vehicle that's both kind to the environment and can help ease congestion in busy urban areas.
Clean, green traffic-busting machine
A new type of vehicle was designed from scratch by the EU-funded HOST project, which based it on user needs, rather than available technology. As well as producing lower emissions it can undertake specific roles outperforming conventional vehicles, particularly with regard to cost. By combining passenger and freight requirements this new, cleaner form of transport is able to further reduce its impact on congested city streets.

Designers assigned four main roles to the HOST vehicle and the ability to multitask helped lower the overall cost. During the day it can perform car sharing services and transport freight. At night it's a taxi or a rubbish collection service.

An electric motor and a battery pack are used to power the multipurpose vehicle, which also has a conventional diesel engine for recharging the battery, thereby extending its range. The vehicle can also house a hydrogen fuel cell if required.

Unlike a conventional car the powertrain requires no drive shaft or gear box. Instead, each wheel has a separate motor which can alter speed and torque according to the condition of the road. Supercapacitors deliver bursts of power when needed. Additional modules can be added to the powertrain for extra energy storage or as an auxiliary power unit.

The result is a true four-wheel drive vehicle, as any wheel can turn at any speed providing excellent traction and outstanding manoeuvrability, allowing access to narrow city streets. Engineers from the HOST consortium succeeded in creating a vehicle that can be fitted with different cabins according to the service required. This was possible due to the lack of any mechanical link between the chassis and the bodywork.

Designing and building a cost-effective multipurpose vehicle for providing freight and passenger services will help cities to become less polluted and not so congested. The production and export of such an environment-friendly form of transport will also help boost Europe's economy and provide jobs.

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