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Call: New generation of full electric urban and peri-urban Bus Rapid Transit systems to strengthen climate-friendly mass transport (2ZERO)

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Programme
Acronym HE-CL5-D5
Type of Fund Direct Management
Description of programme
"Horizon Europe - Cluster 5 - Destination 5: Clean and competitive solutions for all transport modes"

This Destination addresses activities that improve the climate and environmental footprint, as well as competitiveness, of different transport modes.

The transport sector is responsible for 23% of CO2 emissions and remains dependent on oil for 92% of its energy demand. While there has been significant technological progress over past decades, projected GHG emissions are not in line with the objectives of the Paris Agreement due to the expected increase in transport demand. Intensified research and innovation activities are therefore needed, across all transport modes and in line with societal needs and preferences, in order for the EU to reach its policy goals towards a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and to reduce significantly air pollutants.

The areas of rail and air traffic management will be addressed through dedicated Institutional European Partnerships and are therefore not included in this document.

This Destination contributes to the following Strategic Plan’s Key Strategic Orientations (KSO):

  • C: Making Europe the first digitally enabled circular, climate-neutral and sustainable economy through the transformation of its mobility, energy, construction and production systems;
  • A: Promoting an open strategic autonomy[[‘Open strategic autonomy’ refers to the term ‘strategic autonomy while preserving an open economy’, as reflected in the conclusions of the European Council 1 – 2 October 2020.]] by leading the development of key digital, enabling and emerging technologies, sectors and value chains to accelerate and steer the digital and green transitions through human-centred technologies and innovations.

It covers the following impact areas:

  • Industrial leadership in key and emerging technologies that work for people;
  • Smart and sustainable transport.

The expected impact, in line with the Strategic Plan, is to contribute “Towards climate-neutral and environmental friendly mobility through clean solutions across all transport modes while increasing global competitiveness of the EU transport sector", notably through:

  1. Transforming road transport to zero-emission mobility through a world-class European research and innovation and industrial system, ensuring that Europe remains world leader in innovation, production and services in relation to road transport (more detailed information below).
  2. Accelerating the reduction of all aviation impacts and emissions (CO2 and non-CO2, including manufacturing and end-of-life, noise), developing aircraft technologies for deep reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and maintaining European aero-industry’s global leadership position (more detailed information below).
  3. Accelerate the development and prepare the deployment of climate neutral and clean solutions in the shipping sector, reduce its environmental impact (on biodiversity, noise, pollution and waste management), improve its system efficiency, leverage digital and EU satellite-navigation solutions and contribute to the competitiveness of the European waterborne sector (more detailed information below).
  4. Devising more effective ways for reducing emissions and their impacts through improved scientific knowledge (more detailed information below).

Zero-emission road transport

With the aim of accelerating the development and deployment of zero tailpipe emission road transport with a system approach in Europe, the European Partnership “Towards zero emission road transport” (2Zero) will work towards a common vision and delivering a multi-stakeholders roadmap for a climate neutral and clean road transport system that improves mobility and safety of people and goods and ensures future European leadership in innovation, production and services.

The transformation towards zero tailpipe emission road mobility will deliver tangible benefits including, at the local scale, pollutant emission reductions, cleaner air (including unregulated pollutants, nanoparticles and secondary pollutants), reduced noise, increased accessibility and more liveable urban plus peri-urban spaces. Major benefits for citizens’ health and quality of life will be generated, and European economic growth will be supported, hence a solid base for new business opportunities will be created. Within 2Zero, priority will be given to the development of drivetrains for zero emission heavy-duty long-haul vehicles, where progress is lagging behind other sectors of road transport.

Several levels of interactions are foreseen with other European initiatives, in particular with the Industrial Battery Value Chain (Batteries) and the Cooperative Connected and Automated Mobility (CCAM) co-programmed partnerships, as well as Clean Hydrogen Europe (CHE) and the Mission on Climate Neutral and Smart Cities.

The main impacts to be generated by topics targeting zero emission road transport under this Destination are:

  1. Accelerated uptake of zero tailpipe emission, affordable, user-centric solutions (technologies and services) for road-based mobility all across Europe.
  2. Increased user acceptance, improved air quality, a more circular economy and reduction of environmental impacts.
  3. Affordable, user-friendly charging infrastructure concepts and technologies that include vehicle-grid-interactions.
  4. Innovative use cases for the integration of zero tailpipe emission vehicles, and infrastructure concepts for the road mobility of people and goods.
  5. Effective design, assessment and deployment of innovative concepts in road vehicles and mobility services thanks to life-cycle analysis tools and skills, in a circular economy context.

Aviation

Aviation, the climate and the economy are all inherently global and interlinked. Aviation’s global economic impact, before COVID-19, was more than €2.4 trillion per year, while the European one was more than EUR 700 billion per year. However, the environmental impact, although in absolute terms small, it is projected to increase towards 2050 to a level that is not compatible with the Paris Agreement, if action is not taken now.

The proposed European aviation R&I in Horizon Europe will follow a policy-driven approach along the two main priorities (i.e. climate neutrality by 2050 and digital transformation) and implemented in three streams of activities:

  1. Collaborative aviation R&I under this Destination of the cluster 5 work programme focuses on transformative low-TRL (1-4) technologies, notably precompetitive fundamental aviation research and technologies for future development, validation and integration activities, in line with climate neutrality by 2050 and the new Industrial Strategy for Europe.
  2. The European Partnership Clean Aviation (EPCA) focuses on three clearly identified paths, as described in Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA). It aims at accelerating the development, integration and validation of climate-neutral aviation technologies (TRL 4-6), for earliest possible deployment.
  3. The European Partnership for Integrated Air Traffic Management (IATM) focuses on solutions that will support evolving demand for using the European sky, increased expectations on the quality of ATM and U-space service provision, transforming and optimising how ATM and U-space services are provided as well as accelerating market uptake. The focus of the IATM (IATM) is on digitisation, automation and Artificial Intelligence.

While these three work streams will work in complementarity, all propulsion technologies for integration at engine level will be developed exclusively in EPCA.

The main impacts to be generated by topics targeting aviation under this Destination are:

  • Disruptive gains by 2035, with up to 30% reduction in fuel burn and CO2 between the existing aircraft in service and the next generation, compared to 12-15% in previous replacement cycles (when not explicitly defined, baselines refer to the best available aircraft of the same category with entry into service prior to year 2020).
  • Disruptive technologies entering into service by 2035 as well as 2050, based on new energy carriers, hybrid-electric architectures, next generation of ultra-high efficient engines and new aircraft configurations.
  • New technologies for significantly lower local air-pollution and noise.
  • Increased understanding of aviation’s non-CO2 climate impacts, enabling R&I activities to more effectively contribute to the EU’s climate targets.
  • Maintain global competitiveness and leadership of the European aeronautics industry and the whole aviation ecosystem, including modernization of Air-Traffic Management by leveraging space-based services.
  • Protect the passenger and increase the resilience of the aviation ecosystem to external shocks (e.g. health issues, manufacturing, operations, cybersecurity).
  • Deliver an EU policy-driven planning and assessment framework/toolbox towards a coherent R&I prioritization and timely development of technologies in all three pillars of Horizon Europe.

Enabling climate neutral, clean, smart, and competitive waterborne transport

The European Green Deal refers to the need to achieve clean, climate neutral shipping and waterborne operations and to the importance of research and innovation in this respect. Waterborne transport, in particular where large sea-going vessels are used, remains an important emitter of GHG and the sector needs to step up its efforts on a significant scale and through a wide range of measures. Within the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) global agreement was reached in 2018 to cut total shipping GHG emissions by at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008 (baseline). The EU considers this too timid and is committed to a much higher level of ambition. By the same date the Union aims to cut all transport emissions by at least 90%.

Even though the share of Inland Waterway Transport with regard to global GHG emissions is of minor importance the Central Commission for the Navigation of the Rhine (CCNR) and its Member States take various steps to reduce the GHG emissions of the fleet. In 2018 the Mannheim Declaration was adopted which incorporates the EU GHG reducing targets for inland navigation and these efforts are supported through this work programme.

To provide the innovations needed to achieve the targets and show global leadership (also in pushing far more ambitious global regulatory standards) a new co-programmed European Partnership “Zero Emission Waterborne Transport” (ZEWT) will mobilise resources and leverage private and public investments towards the central objective of demonstrating by 2030 the deployable solutions needed for all main types of waterborne transport to become “net zero emission” by 2050 at the latest. Most topics on waterborne transport will contribute to the implementation of this partnership. Projects under ZEWT partnership topics are expected to provide up to two presentations on progress made to the ZEWT partnership members, also with the aim to support the monitoring of the ZEWT partnership performance as well the necessary underlying development to make these achievements possible within the time frame of the partnership.

Furthermore, in the context of the EU’s digital strategy “A Europe Fit for the Digital Age” the waterborne transport sector will have to embrace a wide-ranging digitalisation, resulting in new business patterns, smart ports, automation of shipping and cargo handling (which will provide higher efficiency and significantly safer operations), autonomous vessels, and new design and decision tools.

Topics on waterborne transport under this Destination of the cluster 5 work programme address climate neutrality and protection of the marine environment, digitalisation, and industrial competitiveness with the aim to support all pertinent EU policy objectives, also with regard to synergies with related programmes like the Connecting Europe Facility and the EU Innovation Fund.

The main impacts to be generated by topics targeting waterborne transport under this Destination are:

  1. Increased and early deployment of climate neutral fuels and significant electrification of shipping, in particular and foremost in intra-European transport connections.
  2. Increased overall energy efficiency and drastically lower fuel consumption of vessels (important in light of more expensive alternative fuels for which the sector will have to compete with other transport modes).
  3. Enable the innovative port infrastructure (bunkering of alternative fuels and provision of electrical power) needed to achieve zero-emission waterborne transport (inland and maritime).
  4. Enable clean, climate-neutral, and climate-resilient inland waterway vessels before 2030 helping a significant market take-up and a comprehensive green fleet renewal which will also help modal shift.
  5. Strong technological and operational momentum towards achieving climate neutrality and the elimination of all harmful pollution to air and water.
  6. Achieve the smart, efficient, secure and safe integration of maritime and inland shipping into logistic chains, facilitated by full digitalisation and automation.
  7. Enable fully automated shipping (maritime and inland) and efficient connectivity.
  8. Competitive waterborne industries, including the globally active European maritime technology sector, providing the advanced green and digital technologies which will support jobs and growth in Europe.

Impact of transport on environment and human health

Transport emissions are one of the main contributors to air quality problems, particularly in urban areas. At the same time, noise also negatively affects health. The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified traffic noise, including road, rail and air traffic, as the second most important cause of ill health in Western Europe, behind only air pollution caused by very fine particulate matter. Transport noise, particularly from road traffic, but also from rail and aviation, is a major contributor to noise pollution in urban areas. 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 mainly due to increasing traffic volumes. L category vehicles are often perceived as a significant contributors to noise pollution and this might be due to the fact that noise emissions seem to be strictly optimised for specific conditions (but also due to tampering by their users, which in some cases is made too easy by the way the vehicles are built).

Electrification promises to address most of these issues, but as some transport modes are more difficult to electrify in the near future, there is need for research and innovation activities to develop appropriate and environmentally sustainable solutions. Furthermore, possible new pollutants and related health- challenges need to be monitored and investigated, and ways to deal with emissions by the existing fleet need to be studied and demonstrated.

The main impacts to be generated by topics targeting transport-related health and environmental issues under this Destination are:

  1. The reduction of road vehicle polluting emissions (looking at both regulated, unregulated and emerging ones) from both existing and future automotive fleets; prevention of smog episodes in Europe and a better understanding of the impact of air and noise pollution on human health (including potential sex and gender differences) .
  2. The better monitoring of the environmental performance and enforcement of regulation (detection of defeat devices, tampered anti-pollution systems, etc.) of fleets of transport vehicles, be it on road, airports and ports.
  3. The reduction of noise emitted by L category road vehicles.
  4. Substantially reduce the overall environmental impact of transport (e.g.: as regards biodiversity, noise, pollution and waste)
Link Link to Programme
Call
New generation of full electric urban and peri-urban Bus Rapid Transit systems to strengthen climate-friendly mass transport (2ZERO)
Description of call
"New generation of full electric urban and peri-urban Bus Rapid Transit systems to strengthen climate-friendly mass transport (2ZERO)"

Expected Outcome

  • Development of next generation innovative effective public transport systems concepts using full electric buses (M3) through e-BRT.
  • Present efficient, economically viable and flexible, integrated solutions of e-BRT within existing mass transport networks (all modes) and with personal mobility solutions (walk, bike, powered two-wheelers, cars etc.).
  • Develop innovative, integrated, infrastructure solutions combining charging, bus-stops and dedicated bus lines, for both urban and peri-urban road networks.
  • Development of flexible bus transport, end-user solutions, for both urban use in dense city centres and for less populated peri-urban environments, meeting future user demands of convenience, efficiency, safety and security.
  • Development of an international market for European e-BRT systems, in particular, in countries with low offer of public transport with challenging conditions (climate, environment, poverty, etc.).
  • Reduction of greenhouse gas and pollutant emissions as well as traffic congestion, by demonstrating the developed technologies and advanced electrified Bus Rapid Transit (e-BRT) concepts in European and in developing countries’ partner countries cities.

Scope:

The scale-up phase of clean and intelligent city buses should cover the most demanding routes, by switching the longest, fastest and busiest routes to electricity. Therefore, the investment in innovations in city buses (e.g. clean propulsion) can be optimized through BRT systems, as the operations can be planned, mileage is known and energy requirements can be predicted on-board since the roads and distances are familiar. As such, revisiting the concept of BRT with new, enabling technologies and solutions offers a key opportunity to reduce the carbon footprint of the transport sector, particularly in cities.

Demonstration and testing in real operation are expected to be developed in four or five different European cities and at least one city in a partner country in a developing context either in Africa or in the region of Latin American and Caribbean countries. The demonstration activities should include mega-cities, larger/smaller cities and the link to peri-urban, inter-urban and sub-urban dwellings in order to afford complementary solutions in test and demonstrations. Zero tailpipe emission buses and their related infrastructure are expected to be applied in BRT lines, in different city contexts, together with the needed integration of e-BRT with other mass-public transport systems, and with personal mobility solutions. Solutions include both the physical vehicles, recharging infrastructure and the overall services offering.

Proposals are expected to address all the following:

  • Electrification combined with automation and connectivity enablers, to optimize and validate the whole advanced BRT system.
  • Operational concepts: increasing the capacity use rate; the average commercial speed; punctuality / regularity.
  • Synchronization with other city transport modes; service quality whilst reducing CO2 emissions, and cost per km/passenger.
  • Replicability: use of the e-BRT technology under environmental, infrastructure and social conditions different from the European ones.

The focus of projects is expected to be on mass transport, full electric Bus Rapid Transit (e-BRT) systems using full size buses (M3). Vehicle, infrastructure and operational aspects have to be addressed, considering charging systems for stationary, opportunity and Electric Road Systems (ERS) for buses (wireless, contact, SRS etc.) and strategies (IMC, Opportunity at stops or terminal, offline charging etc.).

Proposals are expected to take into consideration the transport operators’ and transport authorities’ needs for financial viability, effectiveness, flexibility, environment conformance, safety and security. The impact of e-BRT technologies on bus performance and on the frequency of necessary repair and maintenance work, the life duration of the bus, and the costs that have to be covered at the end of the life (recycling; upgrading etc.) might have a huge influence on the financial side and should, therefore, also be covered. The impact of the solutions implemented in the different cities in terms of GHG emissions and traffic should also be quantified. Guidelines for regional and international replication conditions to reach out a larger number of cities and countries are expected to be developed.

This topic requires the effective contribution of Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) disciplines and the involvement of SSH experts, institutions as well as the inclusion of relevant SSH expertise, in order to produce meaningful and significant effects enhancing the societal impact of the related research activities. Indeed, crosscutting issues related to socio-economic, gender, socio-cultural, and user aspects need to be addressed with the development of e-BRT systems in cities, taking into account location-specific characteristics of the implementation area, such as local policy targets, population density, and cultural matters. This will help at a better understanding and greater acceptability of such systems as well as socioeconomic benefits.

In line with the strategy for EU international cooperation in research and innovation, international cooperation is encouraged.

This topic implements the co-programmed European Partnerships on ‘Towards zero emission road transport’ (2ZERO).

Link Link to Call
Thematic Focus Research & Innovation, Technology Transfer & Exchange, Clustering, Development Cooperation, Economic Cooperation, Capacity Building, Cooperation Networks, Institutional Cooperation, Green Technologies & Green Deal, Climate, Climate Change, Environment & Biodiversity, Circular Economy, Sustainability, Natural Resources, Mobility & Transport/Traffic , Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, Competitiveness, SME, Administration & Governance
Funding area EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
African Union
Origin of Applicant EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
African Union
Eligible applicants Education and Training Centres, Federal State / Region / City / Municipality / Local Authority, Research Institution, Lobby Group / Professional Association / Trade Union, International Organization, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, SMEs (between 10 and 249 employees), Microenterprises (fewer than 10 employees), NGO / NPO, Public Services, National Government, Other, Start Up Company, University, Enterprise (more than 250 employees or not defined), Association
Applicant details

eligible non-EU countries:

  • countries associated to Horizon Europe
At the date of the publication of the work programme, there are no countries associated to Horizon Europe. Considering the Union’s interest to retain, in principle, relations with the countries associated to Horizon 2020, most third countries associated to Horizon 2020 are expected to be associated to Horizon Europe with an intention to secure uninterrupted continuity between Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe. In addition, other third countries can also become associated to Horizon Europe during the programme. For the purposes of the eligibility conditions, applicants established in Horizon 2020 Associated Countries or in other third countries negotiating association to Horizon Europe will be treated as entities established in an Associated Country, if the Horizon Europe association agreement with the third country concerned applies at the time of signature of the grant agreement.

  • low-and middle-income countries

Legal entities which are established in countries not listed above will be eligible for funding if provided for in the specific call conditions, or if their participation is considered essential for implementing the action by the granting authority.

Specific cases:

  • Affiliated entities - Affiliated entities are eligible for funding if they are established in one of the countries listed above.
  • EU bodies - Legal entities created under EU law may also be eligible to receive funding, unless their basic act states otherwise.
  • International organisations - International European research organisations are eligible to receive funding. Unless their participation is considered essential for implementing the action by the granting authority, other international organisations are not eligible to receive funding. International organisations with headquarters in a Member State or Associated Country are eligible to receive funding for ‘Training and mobility’actions and when provided for in the specific call conditions.
Project Partner Yes
Project Partner Details

Unless otherwise provided for in the specific call conditions , legal entities forming a consortium are eligible to participate in actions provided that the consortium includes:

  • at least one independent legal entity established in a Member State;and
  • at least two other independent legal entities, each established in different Member States or Associated Countries.
Further info

Proposal page limits and layout:

The application form will have two parts:

  • Part A to be filled in directly online  (administrative information, summarised budget, call-specific questions, etc.)
  • Part B to be downloaded from the Portal submission system, completed and re-uploaded as a PDF in the system

Page limit - Part B: 70 pages

Type of Funding Grants
Financial details
Expected EU contribution per projectThe Commission estimates that an EU contribution of between EUR 20.00 and 25.00 million would allow these outcomes to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of a proposal requesting different amounts.
Indicative budgetThe total indicative budget for the topic is EUR 25.00 million.
Typ of ActionInnovation Actions (IA)
Funding rateThe funding rate is up to 60% of the eligible costs. This funding rate applies both to members and non-members of the partnership, except for non-profit legal entities, where the funding rate is up to 100% of the total eligible costs.

Due to the scope of this topic, legal entities established in all member states of the African Union are exceptionally eligible for Union funding.

Activities are expected to achieve TRL 7-8 by the end of the project.

Submission Proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funding & Tenders Portal Electronic Submission System. Paper submissions are NOTpossible.

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