Ricardo, a global strategic, environmental, and engineering consulting company, is leading a project to create a zero emission, flexible vehicle platform with modular powertrains serving the long-haul freight ecosystem. 


The Zero Emission Fleet in European Society (ZEFES) programme is co-funded by the European Commission and brings together five truck and two trailer original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), suppliers, logistic operators, and research partners to work towards accelerating the integration of zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) for long distance heavy transport.

The ZEFES programme has set an ambitious target of delivering nine different vehicles, running over one million kilometres across EU corridors in real daily operations, by 2025. The vehicles will carry over 40 tonnes across distances of up to 750km to test battery electric vehicle (BEV) and Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) trucks against real-world performance and to understand infrastructure needs. The program aims to improve efficiencies, mass production capabilities, and demonstrate the use of these technologies in daily operations.

Ricardo is providing the digital simulation platform for the programme, allowing modelling of a range of vehicle operations and technology over the routes, and validation of tests. This data will support the removal of ambiguity of long-term investment decisions for the fleet operators buying new technologies and the local governments making infrastructure decisions.

Adrian Schaffer, President of Emerging Mobility at Ricardo, expressed his enthusiasm for the project and said, “this is an important project in supporting the development of zero-emissions in the long-haul freight industry. It will enable OEMs to make informed technology-led strategic decisions to deliver future mobility solutions to the logistics sector. Companies operating in this industry already face considerable challenges from the increasing cost of fuel to the impact of geopolitical and economic uncertainty, technology is supporting them to de-risk. We look forward to continuing to work on the project alongside other consortium members, using our expertise to inform investment decisions.”

Fernando Liesa, Secretary General of the Alliance for Logistic Innovation through Collaboration in Europe (ALICE), noted that the ZEFES-project will support the road transport and logistics ecosystem to accelerate the adoption of zero emissions road transport technologies in Europe by addressing the required interdependencies across sectors: energy, charging, vehicles, and users. Bringing together a consortium of partners and experts in the industry, such as Ricardo, is an important element in achieving success and developing solutions that create future mobility strategies within this important area of the industry.