New Vehicles Design


Driver description
Interactions with the Technology Domain
Interactions within the Social Domain
Interactions with the Economy Domain
Interactions with the Environment Domain
Impacts on Mobility and Transport

Driver description

  • “The need for innovation exists both within entire transport systems (of a country or city) as well as within individual modes or forms of transport. In the former case, innovation should result in giving the user a new generation service; in the latter, successful innovation is new generation means of transport, infrastructure, new traffic control methods, new ways of improving safety or reducing environmental and social impact.” (Ref: CO_5065)
  • “The pace of technological change in railway rolling stock is fairly slow because railway rolling stock have long lives. Locomotives are typically rebuilt many times. The relatively slow turnover of both locomotives and freight cars has slowed the penetration of energy-efficient technologies into the railroad system. Nevertheless, the key aspects of technological change in railway equipment can be predicted. They involve suspension and drive, power and energy, communications and information, track, and track environment.” (Ref: CO_0272)
  • “Rail transport is not very susceptible to disruptive technologies. Such is the nature of the rail track that it can hardly be changed, and replacing it with something else would simply mean the end of this transport mode. Innovative processes concerning rail infrastructure are targeted at greater possibility of incorporating it in various spatial dimensions. These processes have resulted in the emergence of not only flat surface rail tracks, but also of elevated and underground rail structures, as well as cable and magnetic cushion rail. In terms of rail systems, there are two major, seemingly opposing innovative tendencies: on the one hand, to lower unit costs by developing heavy train technologies, on the other, attempts are made to increase spatial accessibility of the rail services by using light rail units requiring tracks that are cheaper to build and operate.” (Ref: CO_5065)
  • “After three years of research, a team from Newcastle University in the UK, working in collaboration with Bombardier Transportation and Portuguese manufacturing firm AP&M, succeeded in producing a prototype lightweight train cab which reduces the weight of the traditional cab by a remarkable 40%. The breakthrough technology behind the new cab takes the form of a ‘sandwich’ construction, in which an aluminium honeycomb structure and a polymer foam core are enclosed in outer layers of special glass-reinforced plastic. Crucially, the inherent strength of the new construction eliminates the need for steel elements. This reduces not only the weight, but also the number of separate parts required. In addition to the 40% weight reduction, the new cab reduces the number of separate component parts by up to 75%. And this in turn reduces overall costs by up to 20%, as assembly and outfitting are far simpler than before” (Ref: CO_0258)
  • “Aviation is the transport mode in which technological development has its definite logic and clear-cut stages of development.” (Ref: CO_5065)
  • “Modern innovative processes in civil aviation include: concepts of new generation planes, new generation navigational equipment of existing aircraft, air transport systems based on IT and satellite technologies, new generation airports and airfields. Major innovative tendencies in this mode of transport are as follows: concepts and prototypes of variable wing geometry, vertical takeoff aircraft (...); new generation cargo airships (Airship, Dirigeable); designs of low-noise, low-CO2 eco-friendly planes, like the hydrogen powered Cryoplane; new generation flying wing planes (with no traditional fuselage); very large passenger airliners (like the Airbus 380, the prototype of a onethousand- seat Boeing 797 Blended Wing, an experimental craft developed by Boeing and NASA X-48B) to limit the number of takeoffs and landings and thus reduce congestion; new generation airports (including Smart Automated Airports, Highway in the Sky, Off-Shore Air Stations); merger of huge airports with cities and transforming them into logistics centres (Aéropolis); technologies of safe, automated air traffic management (ATS).” (Ref: CO_5065)
  • “Traffic overload is the problem of large airports and their expansion is limited for spatial and environmental reasons. If airports are to operate more efficiently, innovative concepts of their location must be worked out as well as greater harmony in the make-up of individual modules of an air terminal, fast and reliable transfer of passengers between the terminal and the city and new technologies of passenger and baggage handling. Meeting the demands of the constantly growing air traffic is not possible through traditional investment projects, but only through seeking innovative solutions, of which the most promising are the concepts of: offshore airports; common-use self-service kiosks, Self-service baggage check, high-capacity flow-through elevators (...).”(Ref: CO_5065)
  • “Cars will change too.” (Ref: CO_5018)
  • “New-generation vehicles, alternative fuels, smart systems of traffic control and new technologies of construction and maintenance of transport infrastructure have become a necessity.” (Ref: CO_5065)
  • “The scope of the changes ranges over every aspect of the car’s design, ranging from engines, motor parts, transmission, ignition systems, exhaust controls, vehicle bodies, suspensions, brakes, wheels, vibration dampeners, tires, filters, coolants, external coatings, windscreens and windows, seats, dashboard and instrumentation, on-board diagnostics, enhanced electronics for driver comfort and entertainment, and automated vehicle control systems. At the same time, the design and manufacture of automobiles will be revolutionized by the application of advanced virtual reality design technologies.” (Ref: CO_0272)
  • “Technologies include direct injection systems, other engine and drive-train improvements, lightweight materials, and better aerodynamics. Although stock turnover considerations mean that the full effect of these improvements would not be realized until 2020-2025, they could still reduce the average fuel use per kilometer for the entire stock of cars by 10-15% over the next ten years in IEA countries.” (Ref: CO_0272)
  • “In order to enable better future mobility services, researchers and start-ups are intensively exploring new vehicle designs.” (Ref: CO_0005)
  • “Innovative trends in road transport can be divided into inventions in the field of new generation vehicles and innovations in new generation road infrastructure. The underlying motive of innovation is to replace the stock of currently operated vehicles with ones that will be environmentally clean, more functional, safer and requiring less space.” (Ref: CO_5065)
  • “In order to guarantee sustainable transport in the future, taking into account the urban space occupation, energy consumption and emissions, it is necessary to develop new concepts for individual transport.” (Ref: CO_0260)
  • “(...) leading companies are incorporating ICT into vehicles, and over the next thirty years this trend is likely to become much more mainstream.” (Ref: CO_5018)
  • “Nissan has designed a collision-free, zero carbon robot concept car. The design is biomimetic – the Eporo travels in a group of like-vehicles, mimicking the behavioural patterns of a school of fish in avoiding obstacles without colliding with each other. The technologies developed for Eporo are not just useful for collision avoidance but also aim to improve the migration efficiency of a group of vehicles and contribute to an environmentally friendly and traffic jam-free driving environment.” (Ref: CO_5018)
Figure 1‑79 Nissan Eporo Robot Car



Source: Megacities on the Move (Ref: CO_5018)

  • “A stackable, electric two-seater car designed to be used as part of a mobility on-demand system – similar to a bike-hire scheme such as Vélib, where stacks of vehicles are available for instant short-term hire at key transport hubs such as train stations and multiple other points around the city. Three or four CityCars can fit in a standard parking space. Future iterations could be integrated with the urban energy supply system – stacks of parked cars act as batteries that could ‘smooth’ electricity demand in a city with lots of microgeneration such as solar roofs or small-scale wind turbines.” (Go to Mobilitysection, then select CityCar) (Ref: CO_5018)
Figure 1‑80 MIT City Car System


Source: Megacities on the Move (Ref: CO_5018)

  • “This is a folding electric scooter designed for cities where scooters are a popular form of transport (such as many developing world cities). “RoboScooters serve as approximate functional equivalents of 50cc gasoline powered $ scooters. They are, however, clean, silent, and occupy less parking space. They are also much simpler – consisting of $about 150 parts, compared to the 1,000 to 1,500 of an equivalent gasoline-powered scooter – which simplifies supply chains and assembly processes, reduces vehicle costs,and simplifies maintenance.” (Go to Mobilitysection, then select Roboscooter). (Ref: CO_5018)
Figure 1‑81 MIT Roboscooter Concept


Source: Megacities on the Move (Ref: CO_5018)

  • “But there is also a future for small cars. We designed the first prototype of a new electric car we called the Dock-Dock. We want to introduce around 1000 Dock- Docks in Curitiba, operating in dedicated lanes they will share with cyclists and connect to the public transport system. You cannot have a big car in the city, that is not smart. In the city you do not need a car that drives 100 km/h. The Dock-Dock travels at 25 km/h. There is no risk; it can share space with bikes and with the pedestrians. With the Dock-Dock you do not need to use a car that was made for the road in the city.” (Ref: CO_5019)
Figure 1‑82 J. Lerner with a prototype of his Dock-Dock city car and a standard sedan


Source: Transport for Society, Highlights 2011 Annual Summit (Ref: CO_5019)

  • “Electric vehicles are no longer a technology of the future: they are a technology for today and the long anticipated Renault Z.E. range of electric vehicles has arrived!” (Ref:
Figure 1‑83 Renault Twizy



  • “A barrier to innovation in transport, however, is the conservative attitudes of the users of traditional means of transport, the fear of automatically controlled vehicles and distrust of vehicles propelled by hydrogen or electricity.” (Ref: CO_5065)

Interactions within the Technology Domain

Traction technologies

  • “Research on new technologies and engines is ongoing in almost all sectors. Current research on vehicle technology includes optimal structural solutions, as well as new design concepts for cars, ships, aircraft and locomotives, to increase Energy efficiency and thus reduce CO2 emissions.” (Ref: CO_0234)
  • “(...) road transport is a primary target for research on alternative fuels. Biofuels are already on the market, either as admix or as self-contained fuel. Pilot projects are being carried out on other alternative fuels and propulsion systems, such as electricity.” (Ref: CO_0234)
  • “Biofuels are one of the main alternative fuels that can offer very low net-GHG performance. In contrast to BEV[1]s or vehicles running on hydrogen, biofuels have been produced commercially in both the United States and Brazil for several decades. The sector grew the fastest in the past ten years.” (Ref: CO_0185)
  • “Railways are highly energy efficient compared to other transport modes. This is mainly because of low rolling and air resistance of locomotives, railcars and wagons running on dedicated tracks, and in a controlled, regulated driving pattern. Energy consumption in the railway system is determined by the highly interrelated subsystems of rolling stock, infrastructure, signalling systems and circulation schemes.” (Ref: CO_0234)
  • “For inland waterways and small boats, hydrogen is a promising alternative, while LPG[2] and LNG[3] show potential for short sea shipping vessels, and LNG and nuclear power for maritime shipping.” (Ref: CO_0234)
  • “While aviation will continue to rely on liquid kerosene, promising sustainable alternatives to fossil kerosene are synthetic biomass-derived fuels and second generation biofuels. As a result of extensive research, biofuels were approved for use in 2011 and demonstration and commercial flights are now being carried out using add-on biofuels.” (Ref: CO_0234)

[1] Battery Electric Vehicles.

[2] Liquefied Petroleum Gas.

[3] Liquefied Natural Gas.

Material technology

  • “For electricity to play a significant role in transport, [vehicle] purchase prices will have to come down. This can be achieved, through lower battery costs.” (Ref: CO_0284)
  • “Battery costs are often cited as the biggest hurdle to EV competitiveness with standard gasoline cars. Estimating battery costs is difficult, and hard to separate from prices, which can reflect marketing strategies as well as actual production cost.” (Ref: CO_0185)


Source: Estimated battery cost reductions to 2020 (Ref: CO_0185)

  • “Energy labels will also be introduced for tyres.” (Ref: CO_0269)

Information systems

  • “All measures which generally enhance the quality of public transport in a city in general support the success of new public transport information systems. For example, the introduction of new vehicles will create a synergy effect between new information systems and a general improvement of the public transport system.” (Ref: CO_0286)

Pollution abatement and monitoring

  • “The technical CO2 reduction potential of gear shift indicators is estimated at 6% in case of 100% utilization rate. However, it must be recognised that the real reductions will be lower than this, depending on the degree to which drivers respond to the indicator.” (Ref: CO_0250)

Energy efficiency

  • “Advanced aerodynamic styling. Enhanced streamlining, using sophisticated body design and reduced frontal areas, aimed at reduce the vehicle’s drag coefficient, can offer improvements in energy efficiency of about 2%.” (Ref: CO_0272)
  •  “The global aircraft fleet has improved its fuel efficiency by 1.5% per year on average between 1960 and 2008 (weighting for aircraft shares in total travel volume) Looking forward, there are opportunities for improvement of the technological efficiency of aircraft currently in use but most of these have already been exploited following recent fuel price spikes.(...) Most of the technical efficiency improvements that are likely in the mid-term will come from new aircraft models incorporating new engine technology, wing configuration and weight-saving from the use of composites. IATA estimates that the optimised deployment of these technologies could reduce fuel burn per passenger kilometre by approximately 25-35% for new aircraft designs around 2020-2025. Beyond that, efficiency improvements are expected to stem from two major changes in technology: open rotor engines for short- to medium-haul aircraft and blended wing bodies. The first application of open rotor engines is not expected before 2025 and blended wing aircraft (where the fuselage and wings merge into each other) are only expected to be a commercial prospect after 2030-2040.” (Ref: CO_0160)
  • “(...) providing the driver real time information about fuel consumption, energy-use efficiency and appropriate gear selection together with additional upcoming preview information from enhanced map data including road slope, curvature and road attributes such as speed limits and stop signs.” (Ref: CO_0250)

Interactions with the Social Domain

Households structure and distribution

  • “Passenger mobility will thus react to growth of GDP per capita and to transport speed changes. As transport modes have become faster in cities, people have moved farther away from downtown locations (e.g. TGV[1] commuters).” (Ref: CO_5048)

[1] Train à Grande Vitesse (High Speed Train)

Interactions with the Economy Domain

Regional differences in economics

  • “New, more robust vehicle efficiency standards have indeed improved average fuel economy of fleets in a number of countries (...). In OECD countries, the market share of large sport utility vehicles (SUVs) decreased, while the number of smaller vehicles increased in some countries.” (Ref: CO_0185)
Figure 1‑85 Vehicle fuel economy, enacted and proposed standards


Source: Tracking clean energy progress (Ref: CO_0185)

Availability of public and private resources and investments in the transport sector

  • “Most studies show that fuel savings from these improvements (more efficient combustion, such as variable valve systems, gasoline direct injection, cylinder deactivation, more efficient transmissions such as 5- and 6-speed automatic, automated manual and continuously variable, and overall vehicle advances, such as aerodynamics and light-weighting) more than outweigh the increased vehicle cost, often by a large amount.” (Ref: CO_0148)
  • “To alleviate road congestion while maintaining a separation from general traffic, future PRT[1] networks covering whole city areas can be envisaged as running entirely or partly on underground or elevated track ways, which are not massive structures and would require relatively modest infrastructural investment.” (Ref: CO_0260)

[1] Personal Rapid Transit

Foreign trade, globalisation

  • “Ultra-compact city cars are by now a familiar sight on the streets of Europe. While most employ conventional ICEs, manufacturers around the world are joining the race to introduce hybrid and electric versions or by using alternative fuels.” (Ref: CO_0260)

Interactions with the Environment Domain

GHG mitigation

  • “New cars are becoming more and more efficient, but this trend is counterbalanced with more miles driven and more vehicles on the road.” (Ref: CO_0091)
  • “Transport technology innovations might include further changes in vehicle design, propulsion systems and energy sources to address congestion, carbon emissions and safety.” (Ref: CO_5018)
  • “Incremental improvements include more efficient combustion, such as variable valve systems, gasoline direct injection, cylinder deactivation, more efficient transmissions such as 5- and 6-speed automatic, automated manual and continuously variable, and overall vehicle advances, such as aerodynamics and light-weighting. Greenhouse gas emissions rates can be reduced by 20-30 per cent with these technologies in new vehicles.” (Ref: CO_0148)

Noise levels and emissions standards

  • “While type-approval noise limits for road vehicles, including their tyres, have been tightened over the years, the overall exposure to noise generated by road vehicles has not improved due to increasing traffic volumes.” (Ref: CO_0089)

Pollution levels and emissions standards

  • “A future large scale uptake of electric vehicles could lead to significant benefits arising from the displacement of harmful air pollutants from urban to rural areas (where fossil-fuelled power stations are typically situated) where population exposure is lower.” (Ref: CO_0134)

Energy availability and production

  • “Electricity sourced from non-combustion renewable sources would lead to further benefits. However the size of any benefits will depend upon the particular grid mix properties and on the type of conventional vehicles that have been substituted by electric vehicles. Assuming more stringent power plant emission regulations in the future, the benefit of electric vehicle operation with regard to air quality improvement could further increase” (Ref: CO_0134)

Scarce resources of fossil fuels

  • “Road vehicles, ships and aeroplanes alike have so far been propelled by combustion engines alone; it is only rail transport that has used stationary electric power supply to a greater extent. This could have been tolerated until the threat of global oil depletion emerged. The proven deposits of crude oil (feasible for extraction) globally amount to 160-181 bn tonnes, while average global output stands at 3.5 bn tonnes annually. This means oil will run out in a matter of 46 to 52 years. The economy (transport inclusive) must gradually make a shift to renewable energy sources (RES) like biomass, hydropower, wind, solar, geothermal, tidal power and others.” (Ref: CO_5065)

Impacts on Mobility and Transport

New vehicles and their impact on future land use and travel habits

  • “Some new modes could develop during the next century, such as Personal Rapid Transit (PRT), Magnetic Levitation (Maglev) trains, flying cars, Segways, and their variants. There may also be new transport services, such as commercial space travel and more underwater tunnels replacing ferry travel. Their overall impacts are likely to be modest since they only serve a small portion of trips. For example, even if Maglev technology is perfected, it is only suitable for medium-distance (30-300 mile) trips on heavy traffic corridors. It may increase long-distance commuting in a few areas but have little effect on other travel. Only if Maglev systems stimulate transit oriented development (compact communities designed around transit stations) is overall travel likely to change, and this will result from land use changes, not the technology itself. Similarly, Segways are unlikely to affect overall travel unless implemented with urban design and traffic management changes to favor local, slower-speed modes over automobile traffic.” (Ref: CO_5047)

Mileage per capita

  • “Travel speed affects per capita mileage. People tend to devote an average of about 1.2 hours per day to travel. Higher speeds allow more mileage within this time budget.” (Ref: CO_5047)