The Fleet Test and Evaluation Team at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is in the middle of a 12-month project evaluating the in-service performance of 10 medium-duty Smith Newton electric vehicles (EVs) and 10 comparable conventional diesel vehicles operated by Frito Lay North America in the Seattle, Washington, area.
This in-depth study complements a broader, nationwide evaluation of more than 600 EVs deployed by a variety of companies.
The on-road portion of the evaluation is collecting and analyzing vehicle performance data, such as fuel economy and maintenance costs, to better understand how to optimize the use of such vehicles in a large-scale commercial operation.
NREL is also analyzing charging data to support total cost of ownership estimations and investigations into smart charging opportunities. Smart charging takes into consideration a variety of factors—off-peak timing, driving range requirements, and other facility or utility needs—to minimize the direct and indirect costs of vehicle charging.
NREL is also performing a battery life degradation analysis to quantify battery pack health, track battery performance over time, and determine how various drive cycles and battery charging protocols impact battery life. NREL will use the measured rate of battery pack degradation along with a battery life prognostic model to forecast the life of the battery and the associated operational costs.
The Smith Newton EV features a brushless, permanent magnet motor with 134 kW peak power and lithium-ion batteries that provide about 350 VDC and 80 or 120 kWh of energy storage, depending on configuration. Range is from 40 to 100 miles on a single charge.