For plug-in electric vehicles to achieve widespread market adoption, vehicle batteries must have excellent real-world performance. Through the Advanced Vehicle Testing Activity, the Vehicle Technologies Office supports work to test vehicles, including battery packs, in on-road, real-world conditions.   The procedure manuals for the pack-level testing are available from the USCAR Electrochemical Energy Storage Tech Team Website. The Vehicle Technologies Office supports work to improve batteries through exploratory battery materials research; applied battery research; and advanced battery development, system analysis and pack-level testing. It also develops best practices for emergency responders to handling battery hazards in vehicle incidents.  

Electric Drive and Advanced Battery and Components Testbed

Idaho National Laboratory, supported by VTO, runs the Electric Drive and Advanced Battery and Components Testbed to capture batteries’ performance characteristics in real-world on-road operating conditions. Researchers run the Testbed on a daily basis on cycles that represent typical driving and charging patterns. To quantify the capacity and performance characteristics of batteries under evaluation, researchers run a performance test on them every 1,500 to 2,000 miles of driving and charging. View the Electric Drive and Advanced Battery and Components Testbed testing reports.

DC Fast Charging's Effects on Batteries

Using a DC fast charger to charge a plug-in electric vehicle can put additional stresses on its battery compared to charging it using an AC Level 1 or Level 2 charger. To better understand these stresses, Idaho National Laboratory installed data loggers in four model year 2012 Nissan Leaf all-electric vehicles. Researchers charged these vehicles twice daily – two of them with AC Level 2 chargers and two with DC fast chargers (50 kW). The vehicles then ran on a fixed on-road test cycle. To examine the effects of charging, the researchers tested the battery packs when the vehicles were new as well as at 10,000 mile intervals. The tests measure the constant current discharge capacity, the electric vehicle power characterization, and the low peak power. View the 50,000 mile reports from these tests (DC Fast Charge Effects on Battery Life and Performance Study – 50,000 Mile Update).