NREL's state-of-the-art transportation research facilities provide a venue for groundbreaking innovations and collaboration with partners.
These facilities help battery developers and automobile manufacturers improve battery designs by enhancing performance and extending battery life. Researchers use cutting-edge testing, modeling, and analysis tools to examine energy storage solutions for electric-drive vehicles.
Researchers at these labs test and evaluate renewable and synthetic fuels and lubricants—focusing on characterizing the effect of molecular structure on ignition properties—and perform detailed chemical characterization, performance property measurements, and stability research.
The lab features specialized systems and equipment designed to test power management systems, subsystems, and components, evaluating interconnects and interfaces among an electric-drive vehicle's motor, controller, inverter, energy storage, load, and thermal management systems.
ReFUEL is used to conduct initial screening of fuel candidates, bench-scale research, single-cylinder engine studies, and assessments involving multi-cylinder engines and complete vehicle systems. It's one of the few U.S. facilities with a chassis dynamometer that operates with lab-grade emissions analysis equipment.
At this facility, researchers examine the interaction of building energy systems, utility grids, renewable energy sources, and plug-in electric vehicles. It's used in tandem with NREL's Energy Systems Integration Facility to explore technologies from an integrated systems perspective. An outdoor test pad is used for vehicle thermal soak testing and stationary HVAC load testing.
These facilities have the capabilities to assess combined cooling loop concepts for electric drive vehicles and to realistically evaluate advanced climate control concepts using a passenger compartment simulator.