Kenneth Kelly

Kenneth Kelly

Chief Engineer for Commercial Vehicle Electrification

Orcid ID

As chief engineer for commercial vehicle electrification, Kenneth Kelly provides strategic leadership, technical expertise, and program management across a wide range of research projects related to the electrification of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. Previously, he managed NREL's commercial vehicle technologies team, which works with industry and fleet partners to evaluate the performance and support the development of advanced medium- and heavy-duty vehicle technologies. He spearheaded the creation of several key resources—the DriveCAT drive cycle analysis tool and the Fleet DNA repository of commercial fleet vehicle operating data—in NREL's arsenal of integrated modeling and analysis tools. These tools, often used in partnership with industry, provide data-driven insight for overcoming technical barriers and informing the development of transportation technologies and systems that maximize energy savings and on-road performance. He also leads NREL's advanced transportation efforts for the Athena project, applying high-performance computing and advanced analytics to improve vehicle efficiency at airports and seaports.

Research Interests

Commercial vehicle technologies

Electric vehicle grid integration

Sustainable aviation

Sustainable mobility

Transportation data and tools

Truck platooning


M.S., Mechanical Engineering, Ohio University

B.S., Mechanical Engineering, Ohio University

Professional Experience

National Renewable Energy Laboratory:

Chief Engineer, Commercial Vehicle Electrification (2020–Present)
Team Lead, Commercial Vehicle Technologies (2012–Present)
Senior Project Lead, Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative (2010–2012)
Team Lead, Advanced Power Electronics and Motors (2006–2010)
Senior Engineer, Advanced Vehicle Systems (1995–2006)
Project Engineer, Alternative Fuels Data Center (1991–1995)

Manufacturing Engineer, Swagelok Valve and Fittings (1987–1989)

Computer-Aided Design, Sunpower, Inc. (1989–1991)

Design Draftsman, Ohio Broach and Machine Company (1980–1986)

Featured Work

Comprehensive Review of California’s Innovative Clean Transit Regulation: Phase I Summary Report, NREL Technical Report (2022)

Developing a Heavy-Duty Vehicle Activity Database to Estimate Start and Idle Emissions, Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment (2022)

Off-Road Vehicle Decarbonization and Energy Systems Integration: R&D Gaps and Opportunities, NREL Technical Report (2022)

Development and Demonstration of a Class 6 Range-Extended Electric Vehicle for Commercial Pickup and Delivery Operation, SAE World Congress (2020)

MOVES Activity Updates Using Fleet DNA Data: Interim Report, NREL Strategic Partnership Project Report (2019)

Characterization of Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicle Operations from In-Use Data: An Analysis of Starts, Soak Time, and Warm-Up Duration, NREL Strategic Partnership Project Report (2019)

Development of 80- and 100-Mile Work Day Cycles Representative of Commercial Pickup and Delivery Operation, WCX World Congress Experience (2018)

The Development of Vocational Vehicle Drive Cycles and Segmentation, NREL Technical Report (2017)

Heavy-Duty Vehicle Port Drayage Drive Cycle Characterization and Development, SAE Commercial Vehicle Engineering Congress (2016)

Field Evaluation of Medium-Duty Plug-in Electric Delivery Trucks, NREL Technical Report (2016)

View all NREL publications for Kenneth Kelly.


Fluid-Cooled Heat Sink with Improved Fin Areas and Efficiencies for Use in Cooling Various Devices, U.S. Patent No. 9,010,405 (2015)

Awards and Honors

NREL President's Award for significant technical and leadership achievements in advancing NREL's capabilities in the heavy-duty vehicle arena

NREL Director's Award for significant technical and leadership achievements in advanced power electronics and electric machines research

NREL Staff Award for outstanding performance, extraordinary productivity, and significant contributions to the Center for Transportation Technologies

China Automotive Technology and Research Center’s Letter of Appointment for consulting expertise in research and development of China new energy automotive test drive cycles