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Duty Cycle Software

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

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Technology Marketing Summary

Duty cycles capture the influence of one variable in relations to the whole system. This allows for analysis in determining the impact of new variables, which are important in accurately gauging the systems in vehicles. In the collection of large data from fleet vehicles, there still exists a need to easily and accurately quantifying overall fleet operational characteristics (driving speed, distance, amount of stops…). The potential benefits of new vehicle technologies being introduced into the commercial vehicle fleet market are highly dependent upon the operational characteristics of each specific fleet. This means that one type of hybrid or electric vehicle may work well for one fleet but poor for another.

U.S. annual fleet sales are expected to exceed 3 million by 2015, with non-gasoline (diesel, CNG, hybrid, plug in electric) passenger cars representing 28% of fleet sales and 13% of light duty trucks. Fleet managers are evaluating the integration of electric vehicles but have larger concerns about vehicle price, charging infrastructure and driving range. The main reason for these concerns is due to a lack of quantitative knowledge about their specific fleet needs and the capabilities of varying hybrid and electric vehicles. With the right information, fleet managers can confidently determine the correct vehicles for their specific fleet.

In addition to fleet managers, this drive cycle tool can be utilized by OEM’s when designing their systems. Funding agencies and regulators will also be able to use this tool when considering funding implementations by assessing specific targets, locations and potential benefits.


NREL scientists have created unique software to analyze large amounts of data, which enables fleet operators to easily assess their vehicle operations and create custom duty cycles. These duty cycles (calculating over 200 unique driving statistics) provides a tailored and accurate set of data allowing quick and easy understanding of fleet operations. The data is displayed through visually pleasing graphs, tables, histograms and maps allowing the fleet manager to confidently make decisions about the correct vehicles to integrate into the existing fleet.

NREL’s drive cycle tool uses simple GPS loggers to acquire data and create sets of daily routes. This data is passed through filters and sorted into desired outputs. Users can then compare their own data to known common industry test cycles to understand how they should evaluate new technology. This gives fleet operators unmatched ability to quantitatively understand not only specific fleet MPG within 5%, but also payback periods, fleet integration, expected total costs and more, before making the purchase.

This drive cycle tool is also incredible useful for OEM’s when designing a system to accurately determine the range of performance, design targets and how to properly test vehicles. Regulators and funding agencies will also benefit from this tool when considering funding implementation in regard to the “real” benefit in a fleet, how to assign HEV credits and understanding if specific locations or routes need to be targeted.

The benefits of this software will aide in technology research and development, performance efficiencies and evaluation of non-standard conditions. Through modification, this software it can be used in other applications relating to duty cycle software, including wind turbines, batteries and hydrogen technologies.

  • Increased ability to analyze
  • Sort and compile large volumes of data leading to increased efficiencies of vehicles, batteries, hydrogen and wind
Applications and Industries
  • Transportation
  • Wind
  • Batteries
  • Hydrogen
More InformationSoftware is protected under US Copyright law.Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
NREL 09-61ProductionAvailable12/20/201212/20/2012

Contact NREL About This Technology

To: Jean Schulte<>