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Vehicle Technologies Office: Software Tools

Several software programs are available, either for free or for a nominal charge, that can assist fleet managers and technology developers in assessing the potential impacts of implementing new technologies.


Autonomie is a Plug-and-Play Powertrain and Vehicle Model Architecture and Development Environment to support the rapid evaluation of new powertrain/propulsion technologies for improving fuel economy through virtual design and analysis in a math-based simulation environment.

Developed in partnership with General Motors, Autonomie is an open architecture to support the rapid integration and analysis of powertrain/propulsion systems and technologies for rapid technology sorting and evaluation of fuel economy improvement under dynamic/transient testing conditions. The capability to sort technologies rapidly in a virtual design environment results in faster improvements in real-world fuel consumption by reducing the time necessary to develop and bring new technologies onto our roads.

Autonomie may be licensed from Argonne National Laboratory.


The General Computational toolkit (GCtool) is a versatile simulation software package for designing, analyzing, and comparing different power-plant configurations. This flexible software uses a modular approach to integrate many of the detailed thermodynamic and component models developed during decades of fuel cell and power system research at national laboratories and in private industry.

GCtool is easy to use: all input — including lines specifying the fuel, feed rates, and component performance — can fit on one page for a relatively simple system. After a simulation run, the schematic displays all the input and output values for each component. The calculated results, including the iterations conducted to achieve convergence, are written to the output file to any desired level of detail.

GCtool may be licensed from Argonne National Laboratory.


GREET (Greenhouse gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy use in Transportation) is a fuel-cycle model that allows researchers to evaluate various engine and fuel combinations on a consistent fuel-cycle basis. To address technology improvements over time, GREET separates fuels and vehicle technologies into near- and long-term options. The latter are assumed to have improved energy and emission performance compared with the former. GREET was developed as a multidimensional spreadsheet model in Microsoft Excel.

There are currently more than 14,000 users of GREET, including government agencies, the auto and energy industries, research institutions, universities, and public interest groups. GREET users reside in North America, Europe, and Asia. This public domain model is available free of charge for anyone to use.

GREET is available from Argonne National Laboratory.


The Powertrain System Analysis Toolkit (PSAT) is a state-of-the-art flexible and reusable simulation package, developed by Argonne National Laboratory and sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). PSAT was designed to be a single tool that can be used to meet the requirements of automotive engineering throughout the development process, from modeling to control.

After a thorough assessment, DOE selected PSAT as its primary vehicle simulation tool to support FreedomCAR and Fuels Partnership activities. PSAT has been used for numerous studies to assist DOE in identifying future research directions. In addition, PSAT received an R&D 100 Award in 2004, ranking it among the 100 best newly available products and technologies from around the world. PSAT is also used within major automotive companies and suppliers to support advanced vehicle development programs. Finally, as part of the Challenge X Competition, organized by General Motors and DOE, 17 universities are using PSAT to select their powertrains develop control strategies.

Because of its accurate dynamics component models, PSAT can be implemented directly and tested at the bench scale or in a vehicle (using its extension for prototyping, PSAT-PRO).

PSAT may be licensed from Argonne National Laboratory.


The VISION modeling tool provides estimates of the potential energy use, oil use, and carbon emission impacts through 2050 of advanced light and heavy-duty vehicle technologies and alternative fuels. The model consists of two Excel workbooks: a base case of U.S. highway fuel use and carbon emissions to 2050, and a copy of the base case that can be modified to reflect alternative assumptions about advanced vehicle and alternative fuel market penetration.

VISION's workbooks contain notes indicating the sources of the data used in the model. As much as possible, VISION reflects data from the Department of Energy Annual Energy Outlook (AEO) 2003 report, published by the Energy Information Administration (EIA), though there are some sections that do not. In particular, the base case does not use EIA's fuel economy by vehicle type estimates, and instead assumes a fixed MPG for conventional internal combustion engines operating on gasoline in the future. Further, where EIA estimates some penetration of advanced technology vehicles and alternative fuels, VISION's base case does not. Finally, VISION estimates carbon emissions on a full fuel cycle basis, while EIA does not.

VISION is available from Argonne National Laboratory.