PEM Develops Modular Powertrain for E-Trucks

The first drivable SeLv electric truck prototype Copyright: © PEM RWTH Aachen

In the "SeLv" project, the chair "Production Engineering of E-Mobility Components" (PEM) of RWTH Aachen University is developing a modular powertrain for trucks that allows individual configurations depending on requirements. The integration of a fuel cell system with an electric drive unit serves as the basis. The development focuses on industrializing the production processes for the powertrain. The goal: unit-based cost advantages in manufacturing. "SeLv" stands for "Heavy-duty trucks for zero-emission logistics in heavy-duty transport using electrification modules and an economical production system" and is being funded by the German Federal Ministry of Transport with around 16.9 million euros.

Traffic and transport sector causes 20 percent of CO2 emissions

The background to the research project is the 20 percent share of the traffic and transport sector in Germany-wide greenhouse gas emissions. Heavy goods and commercial vehicles in turn account for around 35 percent of these. To achieve the climate targets, it is therefore necessary to electrify heavy-duty transport in addition to passenger cars for private use. Hydrogen technology has a key role to play here, as underpinned by the German government's National Hydrogen Strategy (NWS).

Converting existing vehicles to electric drive systems

Due to the high energy requirements of heavy trucks, it is important to exploit the technological advantages of the fuel cell above all the long range and high possible vehicle masses in order to realize locally emission-free long-distance traffic. This requires not only the renewal of vehicle fleets but also the electrification of numerous existing vehicles.

Further information is provided in this German press release and in this press release on the presentation of the first road-ready prototype.



Fabian Schmitt

Division Manager


+49 163 7177577



The project

  • "SeLv": Heavy-duty trucks for zero-emission logistics in heavy-duty transport using electrification modules and an economical production system

Research objectives

  • Conceptual design and validation of a modular electrification kit for powertrain configuration to integrate battery and fuel cell overall system and integrated electric drive unit
  • Concept adaptation and evaluation of the suitability of different hydrogen pressure storage stages in an overall fuel cell system for use in heavy trucks
  • Conceptual design of an integrated production system for the modular electrification kit, consisting of scalable fuel cell system and battery

Research and project partners

PEM of RWTH Aachen University


  • 08/13/2020 through 12/31/2024
  Logo of the Federal Ministry for Transport

Project management

Federal Agency for Administrative Services (BAV) (German)

Funding code

  • 45P0090002


Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV)
The project is funded within the framework of the implementation of the Mobility and Fuel Strategy (MKS) of the Federal Government with a total of exactly 16,879,790.68 euros. The funding measure is coordinated by NOW GmbH.