News Posted on 25/04/2024

#TRA2024 and the future of zero-emission road transport

The 2024 Transport Research Arena was a resounding success. Our common 2Zero, ERTRAC, and CCAM stand attracted numerous visitors throughout the four days. Attendees were keen to understand the dynamics of the 2Zero partnership and learn more about the funded projects: our project portfolio was a must-have!

On the first day of the conference, the Dublin City Mayor, Daithí de Róiste, welcomed all participants with a warm Irish welcome, followed by traditional Irish dances. During his speech, the Mayor emphasised the transportation challenges ahead and the solutions fostered through European collaboration. The Irish Minister of Transport, Eamon Ryan, then took the stage and spoke about the three revolutions currently faced by the industry: technological, digital, and clean energy. The session also featured Commissioner for Research, Iliana Ivanova and Magda Kopczyńska, Director General for DG MOVE and concluded with the announcement of the winners of the TRA VISIONS Awards 2024. Politecnico di Torino took the first place with their innovative project on a new electromagnetic braking system with zero emission. Università degli Studi Roma TRE took the second place for their project on fleet management of electric buses for public transport, and Delft University of Technology came in the third place with their insightful project on user perception of automation.

TRA Visions 2024 Young Researcher Awards

During the European Commission lunchtime session, two EGVI projects presented their research results:
eCharge4Drivers project with a presentation from Christina Anagnostopoulou from ICCS – NTUA.
– Marion Pignel from Eurocities presented the USER-CHI Project, and
In addition, Eric Armengaud presented the latest development of the E-VOLVE Cluster, including a large number of 2Zero and EGVI-funded projects.

The special session on how research and collaboration can drive sustainable solutions for Heavy-Duty Vehicles, jointly organised by the European Commission – JRC, ALICE, ERTRAC and 2Zero, offered engaging discussions into the current developments of zero-emission technologies. The need to address the interdependencies between vehicles, charging infrastructure, grid, and logistics use cases in order to accelerate road transport decarbonisation was extensively discussed. The 2Zero projects – ZEFES, EMPOWER, ESCALATE and NextETRUCK – were well-represented and contributed to a great extent to these discussions.

EGVIAfor2Zero held its Spring General Assembly, welcoming three new members – Cenex, NAAEV, and Università degli Studi di Padova – and reelecting the Executive Board for another 3 years. You can read more about it in our news coverage.

EGVIAfor2zero General Assembly

The second day started with a special session on “Harmonising efforts for decarbonising transport systems with the global South” co-organised by the European Commission and the U.S. Department of Transportation. Our Vice Chairman, Jean-Luc di Paola-Galloni (Valeo), was a member of the panel, moderated by Gereon Meyer (VDI/VDE Innovation + Technik). Patrick. Mercier-Handisyde (DG RTD) reminded the audience about the agreement on scientific and technical collaboration with the USA, which was renewed in 2023. Alasdair Cain (DoT) emphasised that “to achieve the Paris Agreement target, we must help developing countries in their transition towards clean energy and sustainable mobility”. Jean-Luc and Professor Dan Sperling from UC Davis strongly supported this statement. Oliver Lah (UN-Habitat) presented the achievement of the EGVI-funded project SOLUTIONSplus, which included 10 living labs and replication activities worldwide. Jean-Luc highlighted the importance of considering the overall value chain in the decarbonisation transition, covering emission scopes 1, 2, and 3 together. Making frugal solutions is today’s new normal, echoing efforts through the 2Zero Partnership in one of its 2023 topics.

Rosalinde van der Vlies (DG RTD), Gerald Killmann (Toyota), and David McRedmond (An Post) joined the Plenary Session “Sustainable Mobility of People and Goods”. Gerald made a very strong call for the affordability of sustainable mobility solutions, both for individuals and for the overall society. Technological openness can allow this. Rosalinde reminded the audience of the latest regulatory developments to define steps towards making the Green Deal a reality. There are still key challenges to overcome, including the competitiveness of the EU industry and the societal dimension of the transition. Rosalinde praised the user-centric dimension and the system approach led by the 2Zero Partnership as a very positive way forward. The impact of sustainable mobility on the environment will be significant once LCA is widely spread, and emissions from the production phase, including energy generation and battery production, are considered. All present and future solutions should be assessed according to the use cases to make the best possible use of the resources and (clean) energy available.

In the afternoon strategic session, our Vice Chairman Andrea Condotta (GRUBER Logistics) spoke about “Logistics Decarbonisation Champions: Accelerating the Decarbonisation of Freight Transport”. Andrea highlighted the importance and potential benefits of a “book and claim” system and the importance of building such a system in a reliable way. Sergio Barbarino (Procter & Gamble) presented the “soft approach” of improving the carbon footprint of logistics and its supply chain.


In the 2nd strategic session, “Zero-emission Mobility, Health, and the Environment: Benefits and Future Challenges”, Roberto Vavassori (Brembo) presented new materials and innovative concepts to enable emissions reduction and environmental benefits of brake systems. A concrete example of a project funded by the Life programme was presented, and it was showcased that the brakes used in public transport drastically reduced the exposure of city bus users.

The 3rd day was as busy as the 2nd one. 2Zero held many meetings at the booth in the morning:
– One internal meeting about activities related to the future of our partnership,
– The second meeting on the Software-Defined Vehicles, and
– The 3rd one on coordination activities with Member States.
Additionally, we visited some 2Zero-funded projects and had a lot of networking at the booth, with huge interest in our brand new project portfolio (link).
We also had the pleasure of welcoming Signe Ratso, Deputy Director General of DG RTD, to our booth for a brief exchange on partnership-related activities and the benefits of collaboration of stakeholders across the value chain.

TRA2024 Day 3

During the strategic session on “electrification of road transport”, we heard very clearly that electrification is the future. Michael Bültmann from ABB e-mobility identified three key areas that need investigation to move forward together: real-world testing, standardisation, and collaboration. Edel Sheridan, representing the Batt4EU partnership highlighted the need to get battery cell production in Europe.

Niklas Gustafsson from Volvo Group reminded us that there is a major difference between trucks and cars. Trucks are not standing still. There is no one silver bullet to overcome the decarbonisation challenges we are facing; different solutions should be investigated. BEV, FCEV of course, while ICE should remain around for some specific applications.
To achieve zero emission transport, we need to connect vehicles, infrastructure, green energy and business cases through digitalisation.

In the strategic session on “Circular Economy”, Rosalinde van der Vlies from European Commission DG RTD and Dr. Markus Seidel, from BMW Group, underlined the importance of developing a new ecosystem that enables circularity in the transport sector. A crucial challenge for ensuring sustainability and resilience in Europe.

Prof. Zissis Samaras delivered a presentation to introduce the ESCALATE project, funded by 2Zero.
The project proposes a pro-active design and manufacturing approach to improve electric fleets. The approach is based on three main areas of innovation, which include:
1. Standardised, well-designed, cost-effective, modular, and scalable multi-powertrain components.
2. Fast fueling and grid-friendly charging solutions.
3. Digital Twin (DT) and AI-based management tools that consider the capacity, availability, speed, and nature of the charging infrastructures, as well as the fleet structures.

TRA 2024 - Zissis Samaras presenting the results of ESCALATE project

Kicking off the last day of TRA, the morning session featured great discussions with other transport modes about potential synergies around the use of hydrogen technologies. The main focus of the discussion was on infrastructure development, including the potential use of infrastructure across modes, the availability of renewable energy, and competition between different sectors to use that energy in the future.

During lunch, the Cities Mission project, metaCCAZE, jointly funded by 2Zero and CCAM Association, gave a presentation at the ECTRI booth while a Digital Twin (DT) in transport session was taking place at the European Commission booth.
We had the opportunity to test the BMW virtual reality glasses at their booth and see how the future of mobility in urban areas could look like.

Prof. Eugene OBrien presented the audience with his main conclusions from the four-day event and highlighted one last time the importance of collaboration and partnership to successfully address the challenges ahead. We also had one last opportunity to enjoy traditional Irish songs, a nice farewell to Dublin.
To conclude, we would like to congratulate the winner of the TRAVisions Senior Award for the road category, Prof. Gianpiero Mastinu from Politecnico di Milano, and express our thanks towards the organisers.

We look forward to meeting everyone again in Budapest from 18th to 21st May 2026!

TRA 2024 - photo gallery