Intertek, a company that specializes in third-party validation and compliance testing, is working with the DOE and several national laboratories to collect real-world data on all the most popular plug-in models, testing the vehicles’ performance, durability and operational costs.
Intertek acquires new vehicles directly from a dealer, and installs data logging equipment, which uses Wi-Fi to automatically upload operational data. The company tests each vehicle on a closed test track, measuring acceleration, braking performance, top speed and electric range. One of each model is also sent to one of the DOE’s national laboratories for more detailed evaluation.
Next, the test vehicles are assigned to various fleet operators, which drive them daily for nearly 200,000 miles over three years, while collecting data on performance, refueling, maintenance and repair costs.
This combination of real-world and laboratory analysis is meant to offer consumers a comprehensive understanding of each vehicle’s performance and cost of ownership.
“There are many different types of alternative energy vehicle technologies available today,” said Intertek Senior VP Tim Hubbard. “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 Phoenix 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.”
Results from Intertek’s testing are available to the public and industry on the Advanced Vehicle Testing Activity section of the Idaho National Lab.