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NREL uses 100% of its considerable transportation research, development, and deployment (RD&D) capabilities to pursue sustainable solutions that deliver dramatic reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and energy use. In addition to testing and evaluation activities that span a broad spectrum of research areas, NREL leads numerous transportation projects that involve collaboration across multiple research disciplines.

NREL's deep understanding of factors that impact industry and consumer acceptance breaks down market barriers and accelerates deployment of new technologies. Unbiased expert research and guidance—backed by real-world data and analysis, as well as proven systems, tools, and processes—empower partners to make informed sustainable transportation decisions.

Partners turn to NREL for leadership in:

Thermal Management

Optimized thermal management can increase electric vehicle battery power by more than 20% and decrease climate control systems' energy demands by as much as 68%. Research focused on energy storage, power electronic, and climate control system operating temperatures aims to improve vehicle performance, range, reliability, lifespan, and affordability.

Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicle Technology Evaluation and Deployment

Freight transportation accounts for about 26% of all transportation-sector petroleum fuel use. Real-world-based guidance helps manufacturers develop and fleet managers deploy energy-efficient, emissions-reducing technologies and operational practices for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.

Vehicle-to-Grid Integration

Vehicle-to-grid technology can balance intermittent renewable resources, enhance grid stability, reduce demand for costly peak-hour electricity, and address electric vehicle driving-range limits. Researchers are developing and evaluating fully integrated systems that connect cars, power grids, and renewable energy sources to deliver cleaner, more sustainable transportation options.

Fuel, Engine, and Infrastructure Co-Optimization

Ambitious energy consumption and GHG reduction goals require co-optimization of low-carbon fuels and internal combustion engines. In-depth exploration of the interface of fuel chemistry, ignition kinetics, combustion, and emissions examines ways to maximize the energy delivered by and minimize emissions associated with biofuels, natural gas, propane, and petroleum-based fuel, while ensuring fuels' compatibility with infrastructure.

Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Technology RD&D

Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles have the potential to provide an emissions-free transportation option. Hydrogen production, storage, and infrastructure RD&D, paired with fuel cell technologies research, are accelerating the progress of these vehicles to market.

Reliability and Durability Research

Electric vehicle systems and components must perform reliably in a wide range of conditions to meet consumer expectations. Examination of power electronic and energy storage components and systems focuses on improving reliability and extending lifespan to make electric vehicles more viable in the marketplace.

Transportation Data, Analysis, and Tools

Decisions are only as strong as the information that steers them. The nation's most credible and complete transportation energy-efficiency clearinghouse for validated, up-to-date statistics, data analysis, and tools pairs information from government and private-sector partners with expertise in analysis and applications.

End-User Technical Assistance and Outreach

Widespread deployment of energy-efficient vehicles requires the education of end users. Experts support regional and municipal organizations with technical advice, market barrier identification and eradication, policy and compliance guidance, partnership cultivation, and stakeholder engagement.