Photo of Chris Gearhart.

Chris Gearhart

Director, Center for Integrated Mobility Sciences

Orcid ID

Chris Gearhart joined NREL in 2012 as director of the Hydrogen Technologies and Systems Center. In 2013 he was appointed to his current position as director of NREL’s Center for Integrated Mobility Sciences, where he manages a staff of more than 150 scientists and engineers developing advanced transportation technologies.

Before embarking on his NREL career, he held various leadership positions focusing on fuel cell and hydrogen storage research at Ford Motor Company, and also played pivotal roles in product development, safety research, and quality assurance. On the academic front, he has taught at Michigan State University and the School for Renewable Energy Science in Iceland. He has authored or co-authored more than 55 publications and holds three patents.

Research Interests

Impacts of new mobility technologies

Commercial vehicle electrification

Hydrogen production and infrastructure

Integration of electric vehicles to the grid, buildings, and other systems

Biofuel chemistry and combustion properties

Electric powertrain components including energy storage

Sustainable aviation

Sustainable mobility

Transportation and mobility research


Ph.D., Physics, Washington University

M.S., Physics, Washington University

B.S., Physics/Math, Drake University

Professional Experience

National Renewable Energy Laboratory:

  • Director, Center for Integrated Mobility Sciences (2013–Present)

  • Director, Hydrogen Technology and Systems Center (2012–2013)

Ford Motor Company, Ford Research and Advanced Engineering:

  • Technical Leader/Manager, Fuel Cell System, Stack, and Hydrogen Storage Research (2011–2012)

  • Technical Leader/Manager, Fuel Cell System Research (2008–2011)

  • Technical Leader, Fuel Cell Vehicle Propulsion Systems (2006–2008)

  • Six Sigma Deployment Director (2003–2005)

  • Six Sigma Black Belt and Master Black Belt (2000–2003)

  • Technical Specialist, Safety Optimization and Robustness (1998–2000)

Featured Work

A Roadmap Toward a Sustainable Aviation Ecosystem, NREL Technical Report (2022)

Of Actors, Cities, and Energy Systems: Advancing the Transformative Potential of Urban Electrification, Progress in Energy (2021)

The Rise of Electric Vehicles—2020 Status and Future Expectations, Progress in Energy (2021)

Future Integrated Mobility-Energy Systems: A Modeling Perspective, Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews (2020)

Renewable Hydrogen—Economically Viable Integration into the U.S. Transportation Sector, IEEE Electrification Magazine (2018)

Hydrogen: What’s Different Now, IEEE Electrification Magazine (2018)

Implications of Sustainability for the United States Light-Duty Transportation Sector, MRS Energy and Sustainability—A Review Journal (2016)

Connectivity and Convergence: Transportation for the 21st Century, IEEE Electrification Magazine (2014)

A Statistical Approach to Estimating Acceptance of Electric Vehicles and Electrification of Personal Transportation, Transportation Research Part C Emerging Technologies (2013)