Performance Evaluation of Lower-Energy Energy Storage Alternatives for Full-Hybrid Vehicles: NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory)

Jeffrey Gonder, Jonathon Cosgrove, Ahmad Pesaran

Research output: NRELPresentation


Automakers have been mass producing hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) for well over a decade, and the technology has proven to be very effective at reducing per-vehicle fuel use. However, the incremental cost of HEVs such as the Toyota Prius or Ford Fusion Hybrid remains several thousand dollars higher than the cost of comparable conventional vehicles, which has limited HEV market penetration. The battery energy storage device is typically the component with the greatest contribution toward this cost increment, so significant cost reductions/performance improvements to the energy storage system (ESS) can correspondingly improve the vehicle-level cost/benefit relationship. Such an improvement would in turn lead to larger HEV market penetration and greater aggregate fuel savings. The United States Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Energy Storage Program managers asked the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to collaborate with a USABC Workgroup and analyze the trade-offs between vehicle fuel economy and reducing the decade-old minimum energy requirement for power-assist HEVs. NREL's analysis showed that significant fuel savings could still be delivered from an ESS with much lower energy storage than the previous targets, which prompted USABC to issue a new set of lower-energy ESS (LEESS) targets that could be satisfied by a variety of technologies. With support from DOE, NREL has developed an HEV test platform for in-vehicle performance and fuel economy validation testing of the hybrid system using such LEESS devices. This presentation describes development of the vehicle test platform, and laboratory as well as in-vehicle evaluation results with alternate energy storage configurations as compared to the production battery system. The alternate energy storage technologies considered include lithium-ion capacitors -- i.e., asymmetric electrochemical energy storage devices possessing one electrode with battery-type characteristics (lithiated graphite) and one with ultracapacitor-type characteristics (carbon) -- and electrochemical double-layer capacitors.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages26
StatePublished - 2014

Publication series

NamePresented at the SAE 2014 Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Technologies Symposium 11-13 February 2014, La Jolla, California

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-5400-61380


  • AN
  • asymmetric battery/capacitor
  • comparison testing
  • energy storage
  • full/power-assist hybrid electric vehicle
  • HEV
  • lithium ion capacitor
  • ultracapacitors
  • vehicle conversion


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