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Electric and Plug-In Hybrid Electric Drive Systems

Photo of medium-duty truck with the words “All Electric Vehicle”  and “Plug-in” written on its side.

NREL evaluates the performance of electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in fleet operation.
Photo courtesy of Smith Electric Vehicles

NREL's Fleet Test and Evaluation Team conducts performance evaluations of electric and plug-in hybrid electric drive systems in medium-duty trucks operated by fleets.

All-electric vehicles (EVs) use batteries to store the electric energy that powers the motor. EV batteries are charged by plugging the vehicle into an electric power source. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) are powered by an internal combustion engine that can run on conventional or alternative fuels and an electric motor that uses energy stored in batteries. The vehicle can be plugged into an electric power source to charge the batteries. EVs and PHEVs also take advantage of regenerative braking to capture the energy that would otherwise be lost during braking.

Such vehicles can reduce fuel costs dramatically because of the low cost of electricity relative to conventional fuel. The fuel economy of medium- and heavy-duty EVs and PHEVs is highly dependent on the load carried and the duty cycle; in the right applications, they can maintain a strong fuel-cost advantage over their conventional counterparts.

Learn more about the team's electric and plug-in hybrid electric drive system data collection and evaluation efforts: