Annual Reception & Conference

Brussels, 8th & 9th November 2011 – The European Council for Automotive R&D (EUCAR) assembled today in Autoworld, Brussels for its Annual Reception & Conference, emphasising the industry’s role in innovation and the need for enhanced automotive R&D in the future EU Framework Programme, Horizon 2020.  European Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, Commissioner for Transport addressed the opening Reception, and highlighted how R&D must support transport policy goals and European industrial competitiveness.


Paul Mascarenas, Ford Chief Technical Officer representing EUCAR’s 2011 Chairmanship highlighted the contribution of the automotive sector to Europe and the industry’s key role in innovation for future mobility and transport.  He stated: “Innovation has always been the competitive advantage of the European industry. Without political support, it will be tougher in the future to maintain the global competitiveness of the European automotive industry”.

European Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, Commissioner for Transport, also highlighted the importance of innovation and investment in the transport sector to support the Europe 2020 Strategy.  He emphasised “the significant role the European automotive industry will play, as a partner to the Commission, in developing the European transport system of the future and providing the innovation required to meet the policy objectives of the EU’s ‘Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area’ ”.

EUCAR Chairman and Managing Director of Ford of Europe Research Centre Pim van der Jagt detailed how industry and the EU can most effectively cooperate, stating “EU R&D initiatives are needed on priority themes, including Green Cars, ITS for mobility, materials and manufacturing, integrated safety, advanced powertrains & fuels, and heavy-duty vehicles & green corridors”.  He called for “An increased budget for automotive R&D investment in the future Horizon 2020 Framework Programme, reflecting the automotive sector’s economic and social contribution to Europe”.

Conference sessions and exhibition

In the panel sessions, researchers presented results of projects co-funded by the European Commission in the R&D domains Mobility & Transport, Materials & Manufacturing, Integrated Safety and Fuels & Powertrain.

In Mobility and Transport, EUCAR Council member Loek van Seeters, DAF Assistant Chief Engineer, gave the keynote presentation, highlighting the objectives of mobility and transport research, being sustainable mobility.  He detailed the vision of efficient and attractive individual and collective personal transport, continuous flow of goods, intermodal solutions and reduced emissions and showed a number of EU projects which demonstrate the fulfilment of EUCAR research needs.  Joakim Svensson of Volvo Group presented the EU project CityLog, which aims to improve the efficiency of city distribution through modular packaging.  Walter Mönig, Director for European Affairs at the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research stated that R&D needs to be combined with standardisation and framework incentives to ensure innovative technologies come to the market.  Mathieu Grosch MEP who reiterated the essential contribution of transport to the EU’s development, stating “There needs to be a focus on the 2020 timeframe and clear targets for transport R&D.  If Europe wants to maintain its leading role in transport and industry, we need the investment in R&D.”

In Materials and Manufacturing, EUCAR Council member Sylvain Allano, Executive Scientific Director of PSA Peugeot Citroën, proposed the EUCAR research priorities in new materials, green and affordable manufacturing, virtual engineering and digital manufacturing as input to Horizon 2020. Menno van Rijn of Bax & Willems presented the HIVOCOMP project, which is investigating decreased cycle time and increased toughness for carbon fibre reinforced plastics using polyurethane and increasing stiffness by adding carbon fibre.  Christos Tokamanis of the European Commission explained that the Commission is helping to bridge the so-called “valley of death”, the difficult link between research and the market.  Finally Zeljko Pazin, Executive Director of the Factories of the Future Research Association detailed that organisations plans for a future PPP.

The session on integrated safety featured a keynote from EUCAR Council member Sven-Erik Svensson of Volvo Car Corporation.  He detailed the industry’s vision for ever decreasing road accidents, aligned with EU policy, and the research priorities of EUCAR which have been determined in cooperation with the automotive supplier industry.  Aria Etemad of Ford presented the EU Project EuroF.O.T., showing the results of extensive testing of Intelligent Vehicle Systems with ordinary drivers in real traffic, including in-vehicle video of incidents in which these systems have been deployed.  Juhani Jääskeläinen, head of Unit for ICT for Transport in the European Commission DG INFSO called for the automotive industry and device manufacturers to cooperate effectively and stated that the connection revolution has started.  Jean-Pierre Medevielle, Deputy Director General of IFSTTAR, France, also highlighted that cooperation between all stakeholders is a prerequisite in designing the integrated systems of the future to improve safety for all.

The final session on Fuels and Powertrain was initiated with a keynote speech from Lars Stenqvist, Senior Vice President, Research & Development, Scania, who highlighted the scope of research priorities in this area – internal combustion engines for heavy and light duty vehicles, electrification of the vehicle and fuels.  For each of these he presented a number of detailed research needs, which EUCAR is proposing as input to Horizon 2020.  Pascale Tribotté of Renault presented the EU project Powerful, which is investigating new technologies in four and two stroke engines for both diesel and gasoline fuel.  He explained that the objectives of the research are to reduce consumption and emissions but also to reduce the cost of these reductions significantly.  Andras Siegler, Director for Transport in the European Commission DG R&I set out the Commission’s intentions for the structure Horizon 2020, including “Safe, Green and Integrated Transport” and how research into fuels and powertrain, including electrification, internal combustion engines and fuels will fit into this structure.  Wolfgang Steiger of Volkswagen, Chairman of the European Green Car Initiative Industrial Advisory Group previewed plans for a future initiative in this area in Horizon 2020, confirming the commitment of industry to supporting such an initiative.

Also on display at the Conference was an exhibition of co-funded projects and highly innovative demonstrators for future mobility.  A demonstrator for the presented EuroF.O.T. project from Ford was on display, highlighting the active vehicle safety system “Curve Speed Warning”.  A Mercedes B-Class “F-Cell” fuel cell electric vehicle demonstrated some of the technologies developed in previous EU projects.  A Volkswagen Golf was on display demonstrating the InteractIVe project, which is developing collision mitigation techniques using automated braking and steering.  Two innovative demonstators of electric vehicle technology were also on display.  The Renault Twizy and the Peugeot VéLV demonstrated two different concepts for a fully electric vehicle for the city.  On display at the entrance to Autoworld was a DAF LF fully electric city truck.  Together, all these demonstrators illustrated the value of EU investment in automotive R&D and innovation, and how the results can be exploited in real products.  Automotive beneficiaries co-invest in the European R&D, confirming the value these projects have for industry in providing results and feeding future innovations.

The Conference was ended with the handover of the EUCAR Chairmanship from Pim van der Jagt of Ford to Rémi Bastien, Vice President for Research, Advanced Studies and Materials at Renault.  Mr Bastien previewed EUCAR’s 2012 challenges, being the intensifying international competition, supporting the industrial contribution to EU R&D and providing input to the definition of Horizon 2020.

Speech of European Commission Vice-President Kallas at the EUCAR Conference

Speech of Ford Chief Technical Officer Paul Mascarenas