Creating synergies for improved vehicle energy efficiency  

Piemonte and its capital city Torino, home to the Italian multinational Fiat, is the core of the national automotive industry. Here efforts are made to lower the environmental impact of vehicles. The automotive district of Piemonte is made up of about 950 companies, 45% of the Italian total, and employs a workforce of over 140,000 people. The automotive district comprises OE components and systems for cars and industrial vehicles producers, acting as leading suppliers for major European and international car makers, as well as firms working with design services, engineering specifications, and styling. 




Challenge to Reduce Fuel Consumption 

The reduction of fuel consumption and CO2 emissions is the most important challenge for the automotive sector over the next 20 years. Regione Piemonte also sees this challenge as an opportunity for technological and economic growth, which can be exploited only by winning the competition for sustainable technological innovation. 


The Necessity of Collaborative Research 

Regione Piemonte acknowledges the importance of collaborative research in order to guarantee project quality and competitive advantages when innovative product development projects are packaged into commercial products. The region is therefore eager to create synergies among various types of organizations with solid know-how in different areas.


Telematics Development Projects 

To strengthen cooperation between public and private organizations in the commercialization of near-to-market research, Regione Piemonte has adopted a Technological Platform approach, following the European model. In addition to the existing Technology Platforms, in 2012 Regione Piemonte launched the Automotive Technology Platform with the aim of financing programs, large industrial research projects, and pre-competitive development projects of strategic interest for the region. In the framework of this initiative an “Automotive Call” has been launched to co-finance six projects developed by consortiums of large enterprises, research centers and a significant numbers of SMEs. The budget for the projects is €30 m and they are grouped under three thematic headings: 

• Development of engines with low environmental impact 

• New materials for lighter vehicle weight 

• Loss reduction and energy recovery 


SAGE Involvement 

The SAGE partners successfully positioned themselves for involvement in the approved “Automotive Call” projects starting in 2013. Centro Ricerche Fiat is involved in three of the projects, whilst Politecnico di Torino is engaged in all of them. In particular, both are participating in two proposals addressing significant improvements in vehicle energy efficiency: the Drapo’ and Biomethair projects. 


The Drapo’ Project (Coordinated by Centro Ricerche Fiat) 

The target of the project is the development of sustainable technologies and components enabling a related improvement in fuel economy. While also focusing on affordability, project activities will aim to develop a new generation of auxiliary systems, components, and materials. The main technical areas to be assessed include waste thermal energy recovery, auxiliary systems, and control strategies for efficient on-board energy management, rolling and aerodynamic resistance reduction as well as weight reduction by using high performance polymer composite materials for structural applications. 




The Biomethair Project (Coordinated by Centro Ricerche Fiat) 

The project is aimed at the development of an integrated solution for urban mobility based on a customized A-segment vehicle equipped with an innovative highly efficient CNG engine. The engine will be complemented by a smart energy recovery system and equipped with an advanced gas storage system enabling a vehicle range equivalent to the gasoline reference vehicle. The activities also include the assessment of a complete fuel production and distribution pathway, starting from the most innovative bio-methane production processes and including new advanced green hydrogen production processes. Centro Ricerche Fiat will employ its core competences and will focus on areas such as engine cooling system, air conditioning, engine development, aerodynamics, energy recovery, and system control. 


SAGE Partners

Regione Piemonte

Centro Ricerche Fiat

Politenico di Torino


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Newsletter #5–6

SAGE Newsletter #5–6 more