Research & Innovation - Participant Portal

TOPIC : Affordable weight reduction of high-volume vehicles and components taking into account the entire life-cycle

Topic identifier: NMBP-08-2016
Publication date: 14 October 2015

Types of action: RIA Research and Innovation action
Opening date:
15 October 2015
Deadline: 21 January 2016 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Industrial Leadership
Work Programme Year: H2020-2016-2017
Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

One of the principal levers to improve the energy efficiency, performance and range of vehicles, and reduce their impact on the environment, is to decrease their weight. This is particularly important for conventionally-powered vehicles to reduce CO2 emissions but also for EVs in which the relatively limited range and high costs, linked to the still comparatively low production volumes, remain critical factors that determine their competitiveness.

Previously-conducted EU research projects have already demonstrated the fact that the adoption of advanced grades of steel, metal alloys, aluminium, novel plastics and biomaterials, novel high-strength light-weight ceramics and composites can lead to a drastic reduction in the weight of a wide range of vehicle components. However the outcome of these activities is also that the additional cost for each kilogram saved is still too high to represent a revolutionary approach enabling intensive use of such lightweight materials particularly in vehicles intended for mass-production.

Correspondingly it is necessary to address this issue directly and urgently in order to identify solutions for the significant weight reduction of vehicles, and in particular electrified cars, which are cost-effective and viable with respect to the intended production volumes and from the entire life-cycle perspective, improving performance without compromising crashworthiness and durability. Specifically the principal focus should be on large production volumes exploiting economies of scale, targeting production volumes of at least 50000 units per annum, while investigating also the opportunity for developing common solutions across different types of vehicle.


The principal focus should be on large production volumes exploiting economies of scale, targeting production volumes of at least 50000 units per annum, while investigating also the opportunity for developing common solutions across different types of vehicle.

A holistic, integrated and cost-driven approach should be pursued in order to optimize the use of lightweight materials solutions in all vehicle structures, subsystems and components (with the exception of concepts for stand-alone powertrains), considering the entire value chain from a life-cycle perspective: materials, tools, process, assembly and end-of-life.

Materials engineering should address the development of new low density/high strength and highly formable materials (e.g. steels, alloys, aluminium, castings, polymers, biomaterials, ceramics and reinforcements) and their combination (e.g. composites, sandwiches, high strength foams) at affordable prices starting from less expensive sources, also via recycling and/or processes which are less energy-demanding. Furthermore, materials engineering should address corrosion, thermal expansion, joining (e.g. bonding, riveting, friction-stir based technologies, etc.) and recycling issues of multi-material designs, one essential prerequisite being the widespread availability and minimal CO2 footprint of the candidate materials.

Manufacturing engineering should address both the need to use less energy-intensive and more sustainable technologies, and the opportunity to speed-up and improve the efficiency of lightweight part production also through the combination of different manufacture steps, moving towards new approaches specific for new materials, including cost-effective multi-material joining technologies as well as the formability of tailored blanks material hybrid parts, and considering also effective multi-material surface treatments.

Design should pursue approaches based on both “right material for the right application” and “multi-functional optimization” in order to exploit the lightweight materials properties, optimizing their use through functional integration of multi-material solutions, including design for recycling. In view to further reduce the environmental footprint of the vehicles, the use of recycled high added-value materials should be considered.

Virtual engineering should support the multi-functional design for the optimization of performance (including crashworthiness, durability, etc.), developing and applying methods and tools to enable the efficient and effective simulation of multi-functional, multi-material solutions as well as of sustainable manufacturing technologies in order to minimize material use and energy consumption. Importantly Life Cycle Analysis (LCA should support the entire design and development process.

The activities are required to identify solutions for the weight reduction of vehicles, including, but not limited to, electrified cars which, through a comprehensive analysis, should be demonstrated to be both viable, in terms of cost and production, and sustainable from the life-cycle perspective.

The solutions must be validated at the application level, with full verification of the virtual engineering approach, to demonstrate improved performance without any compromise in terms of crashworthiness and durability. An assessment of the applicability of the solutions developed across different vehicle types is also expected.

This topic is a NMBP contribution to the European Green Vehicles Initiative (EGVI) and was developed in close collaboration with EGVI. It complements the EGVI activities in the Work Programme part of the Societal Challenge “Smart, green and integrated transport”.

The implementation of this topic is intended to start at TRL 4 and target TRL 6.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU between EUR 5 and 8 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:

Specific targets that should be achieved in short- to medium-term (within a time frame of about 6 years following the completion of the project) include:

  • 10 % reduction in energy consumption of vehicle due to weight reduction (with corresponding impact in terms of CO2 emissions depending on the vehicle type);
  • Cost-effective weight savings depending on intended production volumes, eg.:
    • For 50000 units per annum: at least 6 €/kg-saved;
    • For 100000+ units per annum: at least 3 €/kg-saved;
  • At least 6% improvement in LCA environmental impact ("from cradle to grave") in terms of GWP (Global Warming Potential).

Proposals should include a business case and exploitation strategy, as outlined in the Introduction to the LEIT part of this Work Programme.

Topic conditions and documents

Please read carefully all provisions below before the preparation of your application.

    described in part A of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme.

    Note also that a number of non-EU/non-Associated Countries that are not automatically eligible for funding have made specific provisions for making funding available for their participants in Horizon 2020 projects (follow the links to
    China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Taiwan).
    described in part B and C of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme.

    Proposal page limits and layout: Please refer to Part B of the standard proposal template.


    3.1  Evaluation criteria and procedure, scoring and threshold: described in part H of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme , with the following exceptions:

    For single-stage and second-stage evaluations, the threshold for the criteria Excellence and Impact will be 4.
    The overall threshold, applying to the sum of the three individual scores, will be 12.

    In case of equal overall scores in the ranked list, the priority order of proposals will be established in accordance with part H of the General Annexes, except that proposals will be ranked on the basis of individual scores for the Impact criterion before the Excellence criterion.

    In case of equal overall scores in the ranked list, the priority order of proposals will be established in accordance with part H of the General Annexes, except, when comparing ex aequo proposals of different topics, the proposals will be ranked first according to the position in the topic ranked lists

    3.2 Submission and evaluation process: Guide to the submission and evaluation process

    Information on the outcome of single-stage evaluation: maximum 5 months from the deadline for submission.
    Signature of grant agreements: maximum 8 months from the deadline for submission.
    for the type of action under this topic

    Research and Innovation Action:

    Specific provisions and funding rates
    Standard proposal template
    Standard evaluation form
    H2020 General MGA -Multi-Beneficiary
    Annotated Grant Agreement


    Horizon 2020 budget flexibility

    Classified information

    Technology readiness levels (TRL) – where a topic description refers to TRL, these definitions apply.

    Financial support to Third Parties – where a topic description foresees financial support to Third Parties, these provisions apply.

    must be granted to all scientific publications resulting from Horizon 2020 actions, and proposals must refer to measures envisaged. 

    Where relevant, proposals should also provide information on how the participants will manage the research data generated and/or collected during the project, such as details on what types of data the project will generate, whether and how this data will be exploited or made accessible for verification and re-use, and how it will be curated and preserved.

    Legal basis: Horizon 2020 - Regulation of Establishment

    Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation

    Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Specific Programme

    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Introduction

    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Introduction to Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies (LEITs)

    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Nanotechnologies, advanced materials, advanced manufacturing and processing, biotechnology

    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Cross-cutting activities (Focus Areas)

    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Dissemination, Exploitation and Evaluation

    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: General Annexes
Additional documents

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