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Market Impact

This is the May 2016 issue of the Transportation and Hydrogen Newsletter.

May 31, 2016

Five men stand outside in front of passenger car and white modular building.

A Toyota Mirai fuel cell electric vehicle from NREL and a 3D-printed building from ORNL on display at the National Lab Impact Summit. Image Dennis Schroeder, NREL

Summit Spotlights Lab-Industry Collaboration
Industry-lab partnerships address critical technology challenges and deliver bottom-line results to improve America's economic competitiveness in sectors such as transportation. Earlier this month, NREL hosted leaders from the business, government, and research communities at the EERE National Lab Impact Summit to showcase these successes. A panel led by Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Reuben Sarkar and featuring experts from national laboratories and industry explored how these partnerships have advanced innovation in electric vehicles, biofuels, and hydrogen fueling infrastructure.

Report Measures Public Attitude about Electric Vehicles

Advanced vehicle technologies can help reduce petroleum consumption in transportation. However, the broad acceptance of these technologies depends on consumer acceptance. Drivers must be willing to purchase and drive plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) for these technologies to succeed. NREL recently released a>report that presents the views of 1,015 American households on PEVs.

Strategies Developed for Reducing Heating Loads, Increasing Driving Range of Electric Vehicles

The energy used to maintain cabin temperature at a comfortable level is a vehicle's largest ancillary energy load. This load significantly impacts fuel economy for conventional and hybrid vehicles, and it drastically reduces the driving range of all electric vehicles (EVs). Heating is more detrimental than cooling to EV range due to the low coefficient of performance or COP of electric heaters compared to air conditioners, and the higher temperature difference between the cabin interior and exterior in the winter. After conducting vehicle evaluation and thermal modeling, NREL researchers documented several>strategies that reduce heating loads in EVs and increase energy for vehicle propulsion.

Collaboration to Bring Better Fuels & Better Engines—Sooner

NREL is collaborating with DOE, other national laboratories, and industry on the Co-Optimization of Fuels & Engines initiative, a first-of-its-kind effort targeting fuel economy improvements of more than 50% and dramatic cuts in emissions. A combination of R&D and lifecycle, techno-economic, and market analyses will provide industry with the innovative technology and understanding needed to move new biofuels and advanced engine systems to market faster while identifying and addressing barriers to commercialization.

Industry Partners Use Breakthrough Device to Improve Battery Safety

Electric vehicles, consumer electronics, airplanes, and astronauts' spacesuits rely on lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries for high energy density in a compact package. Despite the properties that make Li-ion the most commercially viable energy storage option, rare internal short circuits have posed safety hazards, prompted product recalls, grounded airplane fleets, and resulted in financial losses of more than $1 billion. As shown in this video, NREL's Battery Internal Short-Circuit Device is helping industry partners improve the safety of Li-ion batteries.

Electric Bus Evaluation Helps Identify Additional Transit Routes for Electrification

NREL is evaluating the performance of electric buses compared to conventional buses operated by Foothill Transit in West Covina, California. Foothill Transit has fully electrified one bus route, with fast chargers mid-way along the route. Based on in-service performance data from both types of buses, NREL will develop a validated vehicle model using its FASTSim simulation tool to study the impact of route selection and other parameters. The final results will help Foothill Transit determine other routes suitable for electrification.

Study Shows How Location and Time of Electric Car Charging Affects Pollution

The balance between the zero emissions of electric vehicles and the significant emissions produced by traditional power plant production of electricity has been a concern expressed by many. A new study addresses the question: are EVs really zero emission? Results suggest that reducing fossil fuel use in the electricity sector and encouraging workplace charging are two important factors in achieving the greatest electric vehicle emissions reduction.

U.S.-China Experts Join Forces to Tackle Electric Vehicle Battery Challenges

NREL convened a meeting of researchers and industry experts from the United States and China to share insights on battery technology advancements, examine marketplace challenges, and identify opportunities for collaboration. Representatives from DOE, American and Chinese research facilities, the international Electric Vehicles Initiative, and industry exchanged information on battery market trends, materials development, safety evaluation, engineering tools, cell modeling, charging infrastructure, recycling options, and more.

Researchers to Assist Industry Partner in Developing and Evaluating Commercial Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle

The Energy Department awarded Cummins Inc. a $4.5 million grant to develop a Class 6 plug-in hybrid that can reduce fuel consumption by 50%. To assist Cummins, NREL will evaluate the vehicle technology using DRIVE, an analysis tool that produces representative drive cycles from vehicle data gathered via onboard logging devices, and Fleet DNA, a transportation data repository that can help manufacturers and designers optimize vehicle designs. For more information, including other project partners, refer to the Cummins news release.

Learn more about NREL's Transportation and Hydrogen and Fuel Cell RD&D and partnership opportunities.