DOE's AVTA Completes a Million Miles of Plug-In Hybrid Testing

INL PHEV graph

In brief: The Department of Energy's (DOE) Advanced Vehicles Testing Activity (AVTA) at Idaho National Laboratory (INL) completed 1 million miles of plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) testing.

The word

INF PHEV graph

Most of the vehicles included in this test were modified hybrid electrics based on various manufactures' models. The most common was the Toyota Prius, of course.

The testing was not to prove any one model better than another, but instead to gather real-world data on both what can be expected from the vehicles and, importantly, which battery technologies are better suited to real-world use for the longer term.

Conducting testing through fleets, individuals, etc. the cars included more than 215 PHEVs (12 models) going through 26,000 charging events and totaling one million miles on the road.

Benchmarking the vehicles' performance over time, quantifying energy consumption (in terms of gasoline and electricity) in 23 states as well as Canada, and including driver data (human behavior/driving habits), several pieces of information were gleaned.

Analysis shows that the ambient temperature can have a big effect on both the vehicle's performance and the driver's style of driving. Charging habits were also important and showed that some drivers, after the "newness" wore off, often neglected to plug their vehicles in overnight, thus increasing the number of gasoline miles for the car.

A lot of useful preliminary data has already been released, but the full report won't be compiled for a few weeks.

And so ...

One thing they found is that combined driver behavior, weather, and plug-in charging frequencies (how often) can significantly affect both battery life and vehicle efficiency. To the tune of 80-85% of the overall energy efficiency results!

Photo credits: AVTA and INL release

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