Commercial Vehicle Technologies
NREL conducts real-world evaluations of commercial vehicle technologies, comparing the performance of advanced medium- and heavy-duty fleet vehicles to conventional vehicles.
Evaluation results help vehicle manufacturers fine-tune their designs and help fleet managers select and optimize the use of fuel-efficient, low-emission vehicles.
Performed in partnership with commercial and government fleets across the nation, these customized vehicle evaluations focus on the following technologies:
- Hybrid electric vehicles
- Electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles
- Hydraulic hybrid vehicles
- Alternative fuel vehicles
NREL maintains several related online tools. The Fleet DNA clearinghouse of commercial fleet vehicle operating data provides data summaries and visualizations similar to real-world genetics for medium- and heavy-duty fleet vehicles operating in a variety of vocations. The Drive Cycle Analysis Tool (DriveCAT) features drive cycle data for modeling, simulating, and evaluating vehicle systems and components.
In addition, NREL is assessing the fuel savings potential of semi-automated truck platooning, which reduces aerodynamic drag by grouping vehicles together and safely decreasing the distance between them via electronic coupling.
NREL has also examined the use of truck stop electrification sites along the nation's busiest transportation corridors. Such sites allow truckers to maintain air conditioning, heat, and electricity by plugging into the electric grid instead of running their engines.
This work supports the U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Vehicle Testing Activity, which bridges the gap between early-stage research and the commercial availability of energy-efficient vehicle technologies and practices.