Research funded by the Vehicle Technologies Office produces a great deal of valuable data, but it is important to compare those research results with both baseline data and similar work done elsewhere in the world. Through laboratory testing to develop points of reference (known as benchmarking), researchers can compare vehicles and components to validate models, support technical target-setting, and provide data to help guide technology development tasks.
Benchmarking activities fall into two primary areas:
- Vehicle and component testing, in which researchers test and analyze emerging technologies obtained from sources throughout the world. The results are used to continually assess program efforts.
- Model validation, in which researchers use test data to validate the accuracy of vehicle and component computer models including:
- Overall measures such as fuel economy and state-of-charge of the energy storage system across the driving cycle
- Transient component behavior, such as fuel rate and torque.
Laboratory benchmarking is often followed by operational and fleet testing to measure performance, costs, fuel consumption, in-use maintenance requirements, and operational characteristics. Such testing typically occurs under cost-sharing agreements between the national laboratories and industrial partners, with the national laboratories providing data acquisition, analysis, reporting, and management support. This testing is being conducted through the Advanced Vehicle Testing Activity (AVTA).