Welcome to the Institute of Vehicle Concepts

Welcome to the Institute of Vehicle Concepts

Institute director: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Horst E. Friedrich

The Institute of Vehicle Concepts is a systems institute. It processes and coordinates traffic-related research topics concerning new vehicle concepts and vehicle technologies.

The Institute's fields of endeavour address the development of future technology systems for sustainable, safe, and affordable generations of vehicles on road and rail. The Institute's contributions range from conception and design through construction, calculation, and simulation to the presentation of research demonstrators, components, and vehicles.

Fields of endeavour for the Institute's research are as follows:


Institute building

• Road vehicle concepts

• Rail vehicle concepts

• Alternative power trains

• Lightweight vehicle construction

The Institute of Vehicle Concepts' guiding vision is successful scientific collaboration for efficient mobility based on regenerative energy sources and energy conversion/storage of the future as well as for advanced architecture concepts and lightweight construction for road and rail vehicles.

The successful integration of material, process, and construction innovations is made possible by collaboration between the DLR, the Helmholtz Association (HGF), and international science partners.

As part of the transportation research programme, the Institute of Vehicle Concepts collaborates with the Institute of Transport Research, the Institute for Transportation System Technology, and about twenty other DLR institutes. The Institute of Vehicle Concepts (FK) in Stuttgart is incorporated into the regional networks and has a field office in Berlin-Adlershof.


Our mission

The Institute's mission is the research, development, and evaluation of innovative vehicle concepts for road- and rail-vehicle systems. This means the vehicle's overall technical system, its design based on requirements from society and politics, and ultimately the development of mobility and the elaboration and evaluation of vehicle technology solutions. The research and development services rendered are focused on novelty and application orientation. The innovation feature develops here from significant increases in environmental or sustainability-oriented concept qualities. The fulfilment of all concepts' safety and efficiency requirements is mandatory. Part of the mission is also to continuously expand courses offered at university level using engineering and scientific results.


Our vision

The vision is focused on designing sustainable concepts for road and rail vehicles so that future traffic requirements pertaining to

• sustainability,

• safety and comfort, and

• cost effectiveness

are fulfilled as well as possible in comparison to all other aspects.

The Institute is a nationally and internationally sought-after provider of research and development services for holistic, systemic concepts and selected 'leading edge' technologies.



Orientation and fields of endeavour

Road vehicle concepts


  • Increasing transportation capacity, resource depletion, and environmental pollution and urbanisation require new systems, concepts, and technologies.

Research tasks


Road vehicle concepts field of endeavour

  • Design and demonstration of novel vehicle concepts
  • Research and holistic assessment of new technical solutions

Important results

  • HyLite fuel cell demonstrator
  • Modular, flexible power train vehicle concept
  • VECTOR21 scenario model for passenger- and utility-vehicle power train systems.

Rail vehicle concepts


  • Mass transport in the relations of the mega-cities and energy efficiency set the boundary conditions for rail transport.

Research tasks


Rail vehicle concepts field of endeavour

  • Novel train set concepts
  • Increasing energy efficiency

Important results

  • 'Next Generation Train' high-speed train concept
  • Wheel-integrated power trains in independent-running-gear design
  • Lightweight honeycomb structures for car bodies
  • Novel access concept for middle carriage in double-decker design
  • Software tools for evaluating high-speed traffic potentials, LCA, and Modelica libraries

Alternative power train


  • Internal combustion engine (hybrid) power trains as the backbone of road traffic.
  • Further efficiency increase is necessary.
  • Electric mobility plays an important role here.
  • Vehicle efficiency and emissions to be optimised.
  • Innovative energy and thermal management is mandatory.

Research tasks


Alternative power train field of endeavour

  • Holistic modelling of vehicle energy architectures
  • Solutions for significant energy increase of future power trains
  • Novel energy conversion concepts

Important results

  • Modelling of energy influences with in-house libraries
  • Free-piston linear generator as range extender
  • Secondary energy utilisation with thermoelectric generators
  • Robust modular fuel cell systems

Lightweight vehicle construction


  • Lightweight construction is a key technology for the reduction of rolling resistances and energy needs.

Research tasks

Lightweight vehicle construction field of endeavour

  • Lightweight construction concepts and new technical solutions for terrestrial vehicles
  • Integral processing of methods, materials, and architecture concepts

Important results

  • CFRP-intensive multi-material design ('Stuttgart model')
  • Adaptive crash-safe front end for alternative power trains
  • Rib and space frame construction
  • Lightweight storage concepts for gaseous fuels

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Presentation of the Institute of Vehicle Concepts (http://www.dlr.de/fk/en/Portaldata/40/Resources/dokumente/institut/Institut_fuer_Fahrzeugkonzepte_GB.pdf)