Commercial Vehicle Technologies
NREL evaluates the real-world performance of advanced medium- and heavy-duty fleet
vehicles such as this all-electric truck compared to conventional vehicles.
As part of its vehicle performance evaluations, NREL uses the heavy-duty chassis dynamometer
at the ReFUEL Laboratory to simulate on-road driving in a controlled laboratory setting.
The Fleet DNA clearinghouse of vehicle operating data spans a variety of vocations—school
and transit buses, delivery vans and trucks, service vans, bucket and refuse trucks,
NREL evaluates the performance of select fleet vehicles such as this compressed natural
gas garbage truck operated by participants in the Clean Cities' National Clean Fleets
NREL examines the use of truck stop electrification sites, where truckers plug into
the electric grid instead of idling their engines during rest periods.
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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 fuel-efficient, low-emission vehicles that meet their bottom line and operational goals.
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 is also examining 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 R&D and the commercial availability of advanced technologies that reduce petroleum use and improve air quality.
Browse NREL’s commercial vehicle technology evaluation publications.