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Testing of alternative energy vehicles

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Intertek is working with the US Department of Energy (DOE) and national laboratories to collect real world data on a variety of alternative energy vehicles. Testing includes vehicle performance, durability and operational costs, helping consumers and the automotive industry better understand how vehicle technologies intended to reduce the consumption of petroleum actually perform in the streets.


Testing is taking place at Intertek’s Phoenix location and starts with selecting and acquiring the advanced technology equipped vehicles directly from a dealer, just as any consumer would purchase their car. Once equipped with the data systems, vehicle performance data is collected at a closed course test track, including vehicle acceleration, braking performance, top speed and full electric range testing for vehicles that use batteries for some or all of their motive energy. One of each model being tested is also sent to one of the DOE’s national laboratories for more detailed laboratory testing and evaluation. This, and a number of other data, establishes a baseline that is compared to other vehicles tested and to the vehicle’s own performance through the life of the test.

Through various fleet operations, the vehicles are then driven daily for nearly 200 000 miles over three years, all while collecting data on the overall performance of the vehicle and its advanced technologies. Each car is equipped with data loggers, which use Wi-Fi to automatically upload the operational data. The fleet operators also collect and record all refuelling, maintenance and repair costs in order to track the real world performance and the cost of ownership.


Tim Hubbard, Sr. VP, Intertek, Transportation Technologies Business Line said, ‘there are many different types of alternative energy vehicle technologies available today and the manufacturers are rapidly developing more to meet both the demands of their customers and the demands of ever increasing Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) regulations. But for the average customer it can be quite confusing to see the benefits and clearly understand how they can fit into their lifestyle. Intertek Phoneix is working with the DOE to help take some of that mystery away by performing these extensive real world evaluations and then publishing the data for everyone to use and consider.’

Adapted from a press release by Claira Lloyd.

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