Today's advanced-technology vehicles (ATVs) feature hybrid-electric engines, regenerative braking, advanced electric drive motors and batteries, and eventually fuel cell engines. There is considerable environmental and regulatory pressure on fleets to adopt these vehicles, resulting in high-risk purchase decisions on vehicles that do not have documented performance histories. The Department of Energy's Field Operations Program tests ATVs and disseminates the results to provide accurate and unbiased information on vehicle performance (http://ev.inel.gov/fop). Enhancing the fleet manager's knowledge base increases the likelihood that ATVs will be successfully and optimally placed into fleet missions.
The ATVs are tested using one or more methods - Baseline Performance, Accelerated Reliability, and Fleet Testing. The Program and its 10 testing partners have tested over three-dozen electric and hybrid electric vehicle models, accumulating over 4 million miles of testing experience. The Program has initiated the additional testing of neighborhood, urban, and hybrid electric vehicles and hydrogen-powered vehicles.