Sustainable vehicles and research into car batteries

Sustainable vehicles

80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from road transport. The transport sector has a lot of work to do between now and 2050. At the same time, transport operators want to get serious about automated driving and electromobility. Using innovative solutions, we are taking the lead in the transition and helping to achieve these ambitions.

Sustainable powertrains for vehicles

The development and deployment of technology goes hand in hand with legislation and policy. This is why we offer support at each step in the process. For example, we develop solutions using validated methodologies to optimise the technology for vehicle propulsion systems, and make the use of the required propulsion energy more sustainable. We have a ‘real world’ verification and validation facility, where our findings are objectively validated. And we assist governments and companies with the practical integration into existing systems and networks.

Powertrains Research Group

TNO's Powertrains Research Group concentrates on applied research into efficient and sustainable propulsion systems that will optimise overall system performance. This is for the on/off-road and maritime transport industry. Our researchers use our ‘Integrated Optimisation Framework’ with validated methodologies for predictive control strategies based on combined emission and energy management concepts. This enables them to address highly complex systems intuitively, by adhering to a physics-based modelling approach. This approach contributes to promoting greater acceptability by our customers.

Car battery research

Our Power Trains Research Group specialises in Automotive Powertrains. We carry out research to support OEMs and TIERs in the development of their vehicles.

Due to the automotive industry's current focus on (hybrid) electric vehicles (EV, HEV, PHEV), vehicle battery technology is one of the research topics. We carry out this research in cooperation with OEMs, TIERs and other research institutes in various partnerships.

Want to know more? Download the online brochure 'Automotive Battery Research'.

4 programme lines

The challenge for greenhouse gas reduction lies mainly in urban and long-distance freight transport. With the current strategic programme Technology for Sustainable Mobility (2018 - 2021), we provide solutions for the design, deployment and operation of clean vehicle propulsion systems. In this programme, we work on solutions that will facilitate the transition from the use of fossil fuels to sustainable fuels for long-distance and heavy transport, and to electrical energy for regional and urban transport. In addition to significant CO2 reductions these solutions contribute to improving local air quality and comply with noise requirements.

We develop solutions through the following 4 programme lines:

1. Flex-Fuels & Combustion Technologies

The high-performance Reactivity Controlled Compressed Ignition (RCCI) combustion concept based on Dual Fuel technology improves combustion efficiency and reduces engine emissions in the transition to a future sustainable fuel mix. This is meaningful not only for long-distance transport, but also for static applications such as generators.

We have been working on advanced combustion concepts for more than 10 years. RCCI is a key research area on our multi-year technology roadmap, which is aiming to have a demonstration vehicle in 2021. One of the results is a multi-cylinder HD engine demonstration with a BMEP range of 25 bar, with NOx and PM emissions below the current Euro-VI limit.

2. Electrified Powertrain Solutions

This programme line assesses and advises on the technology required for the energy and cost optimisation of urban and regional mobility in the transition to clean, quiet and emission-free transport of people and goods. In our independent role, we present ourselves as a Centre of Excellence for assessing future clean and sustainable vehicle technologies for combinations of battery electric, hybrid/fuel cell powered. Our validated models and verification methodologies for utilising lithium battery energy play a crucial role in this.

3. Powertrain Performance Assessment Centre

Within this programme line, we measure, validate and assess the energy consumption and corresponding emissions of conventional, hybrid and electric powertrains for on- and off-road vehicles. This is done under uniquely extreme conditions (pressure and temperature) to test the robustness of the system. In addition, we offer our validated models (SIMCAT) for the development and validation of exhaust gas after-treatment and waste heat recovery (WHR).

4. Hydrogen for Fuel Cell Solutions

Hydrogen will play an increasingly important role as an energy carrier for electric transport. We support the use of the fuel cell for achieving a CO2-neutral transport system. We do this by carrying out system evaluation and optimisation with our hydrogen fuel cell modelling. Our validated algorithms enable the best possible fuel cell configurations and deployment to be accessible. The result is a robust, efficient and reliable powertrain with the lowest possible TCO (Total Cost of Ownership).

Get inspired

4 resultaten, getoond 1 t/m 4

Discover how hydrogen can accelerate the energy transition in the transport sector


In order to achieve the environmental objectives and drastically limit global CO2 emissions, the transport sector must rely on several sustainable energy carriers. In addition to the rapid rise of battery-electric vehicles, hydrogen is becoming one of the important alternatives. TNO Traffic & Transport helps the energy transition move forward by, on the one hand, accelerating the market introduction of alternative fuels, such as hydrogen, and on the other, by providing effective policy support for governments.

Actual energy consumption and emissions

With our Powertrain Performance Validation Centre TNO offers robust solutions for next-generation clean and efficient powertrains. Read more.

ORCA: Optimised Real-world Cost-Competitive Modular Hybrid Architecture for Heavy Duty Vehicles

13 October 2021
As part of its commitment to significantly reduce tailpipe CO2 emissions, the European Commission is co-funding a number of projects that it believes can make a major contribution to achieving that goal. ORCA is one such project.

Towards a clean future for shipping thanks to hydrogen combustion

15 March 2021
Hydrogen has great potential as a sustainable fuel for the future. Could hydrogen make the shipping industry sustainable?