Alternative drive concepts and their practical application in logistics

Students researching alternative drive concepts and their application

By 2050, the European Union has set an ambitious aim of achieving a climate-neutral economy as part of its “Green Deal”. Restructuring and reorganising transportation and traffic play a crucial part in the EU’s attempt to implement the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement. But, climate-friendly mobility requires complex answers. Today we are diving into alternative drive concepts and their practical application in logistics.

Alternative drive concepts

Battery-powered vehicles

One thing is certain; the electric motor, whether powered by batteries or a hydrogen fuel cell, is the future. DACHSER is already running its first battery-powered vehicles as part of the city logistics projects in Stuttgart, Berlin and Hamburg. However, with ranges of only 200 kilometres, these vehicles are still quite limited. In the near future, it seems technically possible yet still difficult to quantify economically, that battery-powered trucks will be used for regional distribution covering a range of roughly 450 kilometres. Additionally, Germany is testing a method of powering electric vehicles via overhead power lines on the “eHighway” on the A1 motorway near the city of Lübeck. 

Natural gas powertrains

Researchers are also looking into options for powering truck engines with natural gas, in the form of either compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG). However, there are no major climate benefits from using fossil-based natural gas. Only bio-CNG and bio-LNG are considered intermediate technologies but their economic feasibility and suitability for everyday use vary greatly within the EU, necessitating a case-by-case evaluation. 

Fuel cells

The electric motor is powered by fuel cells, which turn hydrogen into electricity. In fact, the technology is already well advanced. For example, fuel cells have proven their suitability for everyday use in ground conveyors and have become an indispensable feature of space flight. However, the technology has yet to be proven on the road. At the moment, it is really only prototypes that are in use. 

Study new mobility - micromobility at PFH

We appreciate you taking the time to read our blog post on alternative drive concepts and their practical application in logistics. If you are thinking about studying abroad and pursuing a career in this field, take a look at our Master’s degree in New Mobility - Micromobility.

We have designed this program to help you apply the skills you have acquired with your first engineering university degree in a wide range of disciplines as well as designers who are enthusiastic about materials, locomotion and lightweight construction. As a graduate of our programme, you will be involved in the development of mobility solutions and will be able to use your knowledge to understand mobility concepts and evaluate them.


At PFH we make sure you receive a high-quality education while making the most out of your study abroad experience!