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NREL to Assist in Development and Evaluation of Class 6 Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle

May 31, 2016

The U.S. Department of Energy recently awarded Cummins Inc. a $4.5 million grant to develop a Class 6 commercial plug-in hybrid electric vehicle that can reduce fuel consumption by at least 50 percent over conventional Class 6 vehicles. NREL's fleet test and evaluation team will assist Cummins in analyzing the performance of its vehicle technology and by providing in-depth understanding of application-specific drive cycles.

"NREL's experience in evaluating fleet deployments of advanced medium- and heavy-duty vehicles has illustrated the relationship between vocational drive cycles, fuel economy, and emissions, as well as the potential impacts on life-cycle costs, barriers to implementation, and commercial viability," said NREL's Ken Kelly. "This work has shown that knowledge of real-world vocational drive cycles and vehicle operation is critical in selecting the right technology for a given application and maximizing potential energy efficiency, emissions, economic, and performance impacts."

NREL has developed a suite of tools used to evaluate advanced vehicle technologies, including two that will be applied to this project -- the Drive-Cycle Rapid Investigation, Visualization, and Evaluation (DRIVE) analysis tool, which produces representative, testable drive cycles at record speed from large amounts of vehicle data gathered via onboard logging devices, and Fleet DNA, a secure repository of commercial fleet transportation data used to help vehicle manufacturers and developers optimize vehicle designs based on specific real-world vocational data.

Other project partners include PACCAR, Ohio State University, and Argonne National Laboratory. For more information, refer to the Cummins news release.

—Wayne Hicks