The transportation of goods within Europe by means of commercial road vehicles has been growing steadily for the last decades and thus pacing economic growth and is predicted to continue in the future. This future trend combined with road congestion and increasing pressure to reduce CO2-emissions motivates the commercial vehicle industry to explore
innovation in the configuration of modern trucks beyond today´s trucks that are mainly designed for maximum payload and optimized for limited mission sets.


TRANSFORMERS combines a modular approach for mission rightsizing by means of hybridization, truck engine downsizing and a trailer design that addresses simultaneously aerodynamics and load efficiency improvements. The overall goal is to achieve 25% energy load efficiency (in energy/km.tn) in a real world application taking into account the needs to maintain road infrastructure and traffic safety. The technology selection and sizing of the electric drive system will include analysis of the economic viability.


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TRANSFORMERS workplan is to hybridize the truck by integrating power and intelligent energy controls in the Trailer that adapt to the mission profile and are capable to interact with existing and future trucks. This is defined as Hybrid-on-Demand in the project. The major advantage over the classic vehicle hybridization approach is that no changes in the trucks / tractor heads should be needed, which in turn also allows new options in mission rightsizing by combining several trailers to make a road train.

The results will include a prestandard proposal for the interface between truck and trailer to allow future interchange ability of the hybridized trailers with legacy trucks. Additionally vehicle dynamics of trailer and semitrailer will be included in the investigation.






Nowadays, truck-trailer combinations are not optimised with respect to their missions. Ideally, future trucks and load carriers are easily adaptable for each freight, load and mission. And the vehicle combination is able to automatically adjust itself to the actual driving environment (i.e. traffic situation, topology, and payload). Read more on the background of the project>>

The TRANSFORMERS project proposes to develop and demonstrate truck-trailer combination which can be optimised to their load and mission.


The following key innovations will be developed:

  • A distributed, modular, and mission adaptable Hybrid-on-Demand (HoD) driveline concept that will be applicable to both, existing and future truck-(semi)trailer vehicles
  • Loading efficiency optimised trailer inside design (toolbox)
  • Mission-based configurable aerodynamic overall truck-trailer design (toolbox)
  • A pre-standard electric Hybrid-on-Demand Framework that supports a broad market introduction of hybrid commercial vehicles and provides planning certainty for future RTD activities;

The overall expected impact is:

  • Within the project runtime: to demonstrate 25% actual fuel gains of a distributed Hybrid-on-demand (HoD) driveline in combination with load and aerodynamics optimizations on selected scenarios.
  • And: to agree on a common truck-trailer pre-standard energy management interface, enabling a 70% Hybrid-on-demand (HoD) market penetration by 2040.




The overall aim of the TRANSFORMERS project is to demonstrate 25% actual fuel gains of a distributed
Hybrid-on-demand (HoD) driveline in combination with load and aerodynamicsoptimizations on selected scenarios. 

 Fuel reduction expected within the project:

  • Fuel consumption reduction of 18%
    8% by the Hybrid-on-Demand driveline
    2% by the downsize of the engine
    8% by the mission-based configurable aerodynamic toolbox


Load optimisation expected in the project:

  • Load efficiency of 10%
  • Transformers focuses on achieving these key innovation with the existing European legal and regulatory framework in terms of dimensions, weight and loads.
  • The concept is defined to respond to the need for more flexible transport modes to be more environmental friendly and to have a lower cost price per load unit.








The relationship of reduced fuel consumption and increased load efficiency is shown in this figure. Thus, by reducing the fuel consumption by 18% and simultaneously increasing the load efficiency by 10%, the outcome of Transformers is estimated to achieve approx. 25,5% less energy consumption per ton.km compared to a state-of-the-art truck-(semi)trailer.   









The General Assembly

The General Assembly, composed of one representative from each partner will be established for the purpose of high-level decision-making and is the ultimate decision body in the project. Meeting at 6 monthly intervals, this General Assembly will discuss and decide on overall project management - and strategic management issues. The General Assembly consists out of partners mentioned under Consortium.


The Advisory Board

Main goal of the Advisory Board is the support in consensus building among the different stakeholders in the area with the focus on the
(economical & technical) achievability, keeping in mind the political constraints.The AB of external stakeholders will be established to:

  • Reflect on project findings and results from a technical and political point of view;
  • Periodically advise the project Executive Board and General Assembly in refining activities based on project findings and results;
  • Forward project findings and results to stakeholders involved in regulatory procedures and for Peer review and policy recommendations;
  • Ensure communication and co-ordination with other ongoing projects and initiatives.


The End User Group

This active end user group will have a great potential for the TRANSFORMERS project to enable a quicker and better market acceptance
and with that a better market penetration of new developed technologies.
The end-user group will be invited to participate in technical meetings and specific in work package 1 to provide valuable info and input to the project. They will be asked to be involved in some key results to guarantee the end user view is taken into account.


The TRANSFORMERS Workpackages

  • WP 1 – Use cases and requirements
    The objective and aim of this WP1 is to identify the major needs and expectations from the
    industry, users and Authorities for a new configurable and adaptable truck coping with an increasing need for optimised load efficiency for each mission. The end user group will be an important key input in this work. This WP will provide basic information based on key performance in- dicators that will help to compare current situation with further develop-ments. And will be the input for WP 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.

  • WP 2 – Holistic simulations
    The challenging tasks of tool interfacing and the configuration of such a holistic simulation are addressed within WP2. On the basis of a holisticsystem simulation the evaluation of the component selection/dimensioning of electrification com- ponents is possible as well as the design and evaluation of purpose designs. Providing essential  inputsfor the evaluation / demonstration task – amount of fuel reduction of special truck & trailer assemblies and/or impact of specific components or approaches on the overall truck-trailer’s system. For the developmentand the design of the Hybrid-On-Demand (HoD) drive-line concept a primary component selection is carried out in an earlier stage of the project. And the Main results are: Updated simulation models, Holistic system simulation for purpose designs and evaluation and Optimal component selection.

  • WP 3 - Electric Hybrid-on-Demand Framework
    The objectives for WP3 are developing the novel modular, distributed, and mission-adaptable Hybrid-on-Demand driveline concept, a first-time design of an electric Hybrid-on-Demand framework, and the demonstration and evaluation of the mission-adaptable distributed Hybrid-on-Demand driveline within real-world test vehicles.

  • WP 4 - Mission Adaptable Truck Trailer Architecture
    The Mission Adaptable Truck Trailer architecture focuses on optimising the cargo filling and dynamically adapting the aerodynamic form depending on the fill rate. Optimising the fill rate can gain about 10% in transport efficiency. Main outcome: Optimised aerodynamic architecture fortractor-semitrailer configuration – validation of technical and economic feasibility. Overview over the technical and economical possibilities for the semitrailer design with focus on optimised transport efficiency, theoretical validation of the driving controls strategy and safety/stability assessment by simulation and benchmarking and Prototype semitrailer for test phase., included the electric driveline of WP3 and all defined concepts on aerodynamic and fill rate optimisation in WP4.

  • WP5 - Infrastructure aspects and compliance, Regulatory framework
    This WP will ensure that all the new concepts and vehicle configurations proposed will fully comply with the existing road infrastructures. That is a necessary condition to allow the circulation of these trucks and vehicle combinations on the European network. The task 5.1 will address all the mechanical issues, mainly the effects of axle and vehicle loads on pavements, bridges and road equipment (e.g. safety barriers). The task 5.2 will check the compliance of the vehicles to the geometry of the infrastructures, both in quasi-static and in dynamics. Finally, the task 5.3 will check the compliance with the existing European regulationand propose any necessary revision, without increasing the risks for the infrastructures and the road safety.

  • WP6 - Demonstration, validation and evaluation
    In this WP6 all WPs are coming together and will evaluate the fuel efficiency improvement of the realised tractor-semitrailer. Target is to measure the improvement on test tracks under defined conditions and, after a positive evaluation of the roadworthiness of the combinations, onroad under realistic conditions, both under comparison between the improved and standard vehicle configurations. After the real life testing all collected data will be compared to the simulation results in WP2.
    Boundary conditions are: ensure common interfaces and ensure practical usage: The body entrance is the same as for standard bodies. Main results are a database with test results for further use in the analysis.

  • WP 7 – Dissemination and exploitation
    Main objective of the Dissemination WP is to establish an appropriate and effective communication of the project results to relevant stakeholders and the automotive community in general. Sharing of results is essential to ensure that project outcomes will be used by European and international industrial organisations and will lead to standards. Stakeholder workshop will be organised at the end of the project. In addition, various common strategies will be used to disseminate the project results beyond the consortium: publications in scientific journals, branch magazines, press messages, trade journals and presentations at (international and national) scientific conferences, industrial exhibitions and seminars. Also, a project specific public website will be launched, for the dissemination of the project results.


HoD Trailer awarded [SCB]
TRANSFORMERS Final Conference


Facts & Figures

  • Full name: Configurable and Adaptable Trucks and Trailers for Optimal Transport Efficiency
  • Duration: 4 years
  • Start date: 1 September 2013
  • Total budget: 7.9 M€
  • EC Funding: 5.2 M€


  • Develop and demonstrate Hybrid-on-Demand Driveline for Truck-trailer Combination
  • Develop innovative complete vehicle aerodynamic measures
  • Develop innovative loading efficiency measures