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Potentials of efficient powertrains for trucks and their contribution towards a sustainable road freight transport in 2050

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Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Transport electrification (ELT)
Transport mode
Road icon
Transport policies
Deployment planning/Financing/Market roll-out
Transport sectors
Freight transport


Background & Policy context

Reducing energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions and the diversification of fuel supply are major challenges road transport is facing today. Efficient and alternative propulsion technologies are one approach to face these problems.


This Report analysis how much they can contribute to their solution. Conventional and alternative propulsion technologies are analyzed from a technical, ecological and economic perspective, considering different vehicle classes. For light duty trucks there are many alternative options available extending from CNG- and hybrid vehicles to plug-in and electric vehicles. For heavy duty transport the only alternative are hybrid trucks or to some extend CNG-trucks. Based on the technical status of 2010 the development potential for the next decades is estimated.


In a first step, a technical, ecological and economic analysis is carried out. To assess the achievable potentials of alternative vehicles in road transport, Austria specific scenarios are developed for the time frame 2010-2050. They are based on a model of the Austrian passenger car fleet that can simulate the effects of changing framework conditions on the energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions of the fleet. Both parameters are captured on a well-to-wheel basis considering the applied fuel mix. In the scenarios a constant transport service demand, an increase of fossil fuel prices and a reduction of electric drive component cost are assumed.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT)
Type of funding
Public (national/regional/local)
Funding Source
Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT)


In the technical analysis the fuel consumption of vehicles is determined by using simulation tool. Thereby, the fuel savings achieved by each of the analyzed measure are quantified. The results for the technical status 2010 indicate that efficiency of trucks can be increased by about 20-25 % with different improvement measures including vehicle powertrain electrification/hybridization. In a long term a further reduction of about 15 % is possible. For light duty trucks even higher efficiencies can be achieved with pure electric propulsion technologies.

The ecologic assessment includes all vehicle classes, propulsion technologies and different renewable and fossil fuels. The energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions for all derived energy conversion chains are determined through life cycle analyses. The results show that fossil energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced considerably by using biofuels. Especially second generation biofuels (e.g. Fischer-Tropsch Diesel) show a high reduction potential of up to 85 % of fossil energy and 80 % of greenhouse gas emissions. Further reductions can only be achieved with electric drive systems using electricity from renewable sources, but they are only feasible for light duty vehicles.

In the economic assessment the total cost of all powertrain options are compared and the robustness of the results with respect to price increases is analyzed. The results indicate that under the given framework conditions (status 2010) only CNG vehicles are cost effective. With increasing fuel prices hybrid cars will become interesting as well. The results of the cost estimation 2010-2050 show, that hybrid drive systems will be the least cost option for all vehicle classes by 2020, in consequence of increasing fuel prices and decreasing cost of electric drive components. For light duty trucks (class N1) even electric propulsion systems become cost effective.


Within the overall scenario, the results show that up to 2030 the energy demand can be reduced by 20 % to 30 % through the adoption of alternative propulsion technologies. Up to 2050 a reduction by up to 30 % to 60 % are feasible. The margin of deviations can be explained by the different assumptions concerning shares of renewable fuels. The derived greenhouse gas emission reductions are -20% to -30% up to 2030 and -35% to -55% up to 2050.

Findings of the study are published in detail by a final report (German only) which is available online via the Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT):


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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