Research and Development of Electricity as a Vehicle Fuel

Photo of charging equipment plugged into an electric vehicle.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is working with its partners in the public and private sectors to research, develop, and deploy technologies that enhance the performance of electric drive vehicles, including hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), and all-electric vehicles (EVs).

Some key areas of research include:

Battery Performance

Energy storage technologies, particularly batteries, are critical for the advancement of HEVs, PHEVs, and EVs. Research is under way to reduce the cost of electrochemical energy storage by developing technologies that afford higher energy and power densities without sacrificing safety or performance.

See the following resources for more information related to research in battery performance:

Power Electronics Devices

HEVs, PHEVs, and EVs require power electronics and electrical machines to function. These devices use energy from the battery to assist in the propulsion of the vehicle, either on their own or in combination with an internal combustion engine. Researchers are working to develop advanced power electronics and electric machinery technologies that improve reliability, efficiency, and ruggedness, and reduce costs.

See the following resources for more information related to research in power electronics devices:

Grid Integration

Successful deployment of EVs and PHEVs requires large-scale development of charging infrastructure and its integration into the existing system of electricity production and distribution. Researchers are collaborating with automakers, charging equipment manufacturers, utilities, and fleet managers to develop strategies that facilitate vehicles' access to clean energy from renewable sources, optimize their use of existing generation and distribution capacity, satisfy driver expectations, and ensure safety.

See the following resources for more information related to research in grid integration:

Environmental and Market Analysis

EVs, PHEVs, and HEVs have potential for reduced operating costs, petroleum savings, improved national security, and environmental benefits. Research is under way to better understand and maximize these benefits, and to understand and overcome barriers to realizing them.

See the following resources for more information related to research in environmental and market analysis:

Advanced Vehicle Testing

DOE's Advanced Vehicle Testing Activity (AVTA) benchmarks and validates the performance of light-, medium- and heavy-duty vehicles that feature electric drive technologies and other advanced vehicle technologies. With input from industry and other stakeholders, AVTA also develops test procedures to accurately measure real-world vehicle performance. Among AVTA projects is The EV Project, which collects and analyzes data to characterize plug-in vehicle use in diverse topographic and climatic conditions, evaluates the effectiveness of charging infrastructure, and conducts trials of various revenue systems for commercial and public charging infrastructure.

See the following resources for more information related to advanced vehicle testing: