Transportation Energy Research - Vehicle Technologies

Achieving California's petroleum and greenhouse gas emission reductions goals will require advanced vehicle technologies to increase the efficient use of petroleum fuels and enable the cost-effective use of low-carbon alternative fuels. The Vehicle Technologies focus area conducts RD&D to develop and advance Light-Duty Vehicle Technologies and Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicle Technologies.

The Energy Commission's Alternative and Renewable Fuels and Vehicle Technology Program also provides support for advanced vehicle technologies through incentives, demonstrations, retrofits, workforce training, and workforce development.

charging plug on a plug in hybrid electric vehicle

Light-Duty Vehicle Technologies

California's nearly 26 million registered light-duty vehicles account for 70 percent of the state's petroleum consumption and 30 percent of its greenhouse gas emissions. The Vehicle Technologies focus area advances new technologies and methods to improve fuel efficiency and vehicle energy savings for light-duty vehicles with an emphasis on:

  • Energy Efficiency Active Components
  • Energy Efficiency Passive Components
  • Plug-in Electric Vehicles

To date the Vehicle Technologies focus area has:


Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicle Technologies

Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles are critical to California's economy, yet remain a real challenge for reducing the state's transportation energy demand, air pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions. To address these challenges the Vehicle Technologies focus area advances fuel-efficient technologies and fuel-switching strategies for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles with an emphasis on:

Compressed Natural Gas tanker truck

  • Natural Gas Vehicles
  • Advanced Hybrid and High-efficiency Technologies

To date the Vehicle Technologies focus area has:

See Final Report and Publication

See Fact Sheets for ongoing and recent projects

Research Highlights

  • New research center to develop energy-efficient trucks opens in Pasadena.
  • Researchers at UC Davis discuss their work with electric vehicles and their excitement about the Nissan Leaf.
  • The UC Davis Plug-in Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Research Center and the BMW Group together have released the largest publicly available study of electric-car users.