Technology Collaboration Programme


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Task 15

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles

Objective of Task

This study focused on PHEVs rather than BEVs. The study examines PHEV powertrains with four separate designs, of which two of these are range extended vehicles. A variety of different battery power and energy levels are incorporated into the four different PHEV powertrain systems. The research and analysis will focus on powertrain attributes, vehicle lifetime use costs, and policy issues.

working method

The task was divided into two main subtasks:

  1. Powertrain attributes and vehicle lifetime use costs and
  2. Policy issues and marketability.

Multiple country experts from Germany, France, and the United States met, exchanged views, and planned subtask research. Both Germany and France had participating country experts from two research organizations, while the United States provided two experts and the Operating Agent from one institution. France hosted two country expert meetings in 2011, and the United States hosted the final meeting in 2012. A subtask meeting with the Operating Agent and two German country experts was held in Switzerland, with IEA IA-HEV support, which also took place in 2011.

For subtask 1, country experts from France’s IFP Energies Nouvelles and the United States’ Argonne National Laboratory (Argonne) Center for Transportation Research conducted joint vehicle simulation/modeling research on powertrain attributes for multiple types of plug-in hybrids, with varying amounts of electric drive power and energy, as well as different powertrain configurations1. Country experts from France’s IFP Energies Nouvelles, the Institute of Vehicle Concepts at the German aerospace center (DLR), and Argonne’s Center for Transportation Research collaborated on the topic of lifetime vehicle use costs, incorporating selected cases from the vehicle and powertrain modelling results2. Subsequently, U.S. country experts simulated an expanded subset of some types of powertrains, focusing on those available in the United States.


Under Task 15, fifteen papers were completed with one or more participating country experts co-authoring each of the papers. Five presentations were delivered, and two supporting reports on battery technical attributes and costs were produced. A workshop on Batteries in Extreme Temperatures was co-hosted under Task 10 leadership in October 2012.

The final task report for Phase 1 of Task 15 has been completed and was published in February 2014. The final task report is available for download on the IA-HEV website and provides extensive details on the achievements and future of Task 15.

France, Germany, and the United States — the nations that had been actively participating at the close of Task 15 — agreed to conduct a second phase. Major recommendations from the Phase 1 report are to:

  1. Make a comparison of American and German, component-by-component, vehicle cost estimates to be used for vehicle cost models;
  2. Conduct several supplemental vehicle simulations by American and French modelers; and
  3. Create more comprehensive total cost of ownership comparisons across all five plug-in vehicle powertrain types for both fuel prices and driving patterns in the United States and Europe.

One suggestion under the second recommendation is that simulation of parallel plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) be done with a greater range of peak battery pack electric power than was used in Phase 1. Another is that more configurations of the series hybrid range extender be investigated, taking into account the California Air Resources Board (CARB) battery electric vehicle (BEVx; BEV with auxiliary power unit [APU]) regulations and intentions. The additional series hybrid extended-range electric vehicle configurations would include a greater range of peak auxiliary power unit (APU) engine power than in the Phase 1 simulations, particularly by including some much lower power APU cases.

A Phase 2 planning meeting was held in March 2013 at DLR, focusing on one major recommendation: make a comparison of American and German, component-by-component, vehicle cost estimates to be used for vehicle cost models.