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Capabilities

NREL uses 100% of its considerable transportation research capabilities to develop sustainable solution that increase energy efficiency and improve air quality, while fostering American ingenuity. NREL’s deep understanding of the factors that impact industry and consumer acceptance helps break down technical and market barriers and accelerate the development and adoption of innovative new technologies and systems.

Partners turn to us for our leadership in . . .

Optimized 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.

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Energy storage
Power electronics
Climate control

Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicle Technology Development and Evaluation

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

Learn more about commercial vehicle technologies.

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.

Learn more about vehicle-to-grid technology.

Fuel, Engine, and Infrastructure Co-Optimization

Ambitious energy consumption and emission-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.

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Co-optimization of low-carbon fuels and internal combustion engines
Fuel chemistry
Ignition kinetics
Combustion
Emissions

Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology R&D

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

Learn more about hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

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.

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Power electronics
Energy storage

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, and tools pairs information from government and private-sector partners with expertise in analysis and applications.

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Data and tools
Systems analysis and integration

End-User Technical Assistance and Outreach

Widespread adoption 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. Learn more about transportation deployment support.