This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

June 12, 2002

New Technologies, Software to Help Advanced Vehicles

A number of companies have recently introduced technologies and software that could assist the development of electric and hybrid electric vehicles. In May, Maxwell Technologies, Inc. introduced new high-capacity ultracapacitors, which store electrical energy at fast rates of charging and discharging. The 2,700-farad Maxwell ultracapacitor could augment or replace battery energy storage in a hybrid electric vehicle. In late April, UQM Technologies announced the commercial availability of its Integrated Electric Drive System. The 70-kilowatt electric drive could be the sole drive system for mid-size electric vehicles or could drive the axle in a larger vehicle. The company is also considering a larger 125-kilowatt version. See the Maxwell and UQM press releases.

While these new technologies offer the potential to build better hybrid electric vehicles, the real trick is to integrate them into a vehicle that operates smoothly and efficiently. To help vehicle designers achieve that goal, Delphi Corporation recently completed a project with DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to enhance DOE's hybrid vehicle modeling software, called ADVISOR. The latest version allows vehicle manufacturers to model the propulsion and electrical systems of a vehicle simultaneously. See the Delphi press release.

NREL enhanced the software in many ways, including the addition of new heavy-vehicle options and the modeling of the Maxwell ultracapacitors. See the NREL press release as well as the "What's New in Advisor" Web page. The ADVISOR program is available for free download on NREL's ADVISOR Web page.