image of fleets of vehicles

Fleets of vehicles are routinely tested both on-road and on mileage accumulation dynamometers.


image of 20 mileage accumulation dynamometers

Round-the-clock mileage accumulation is available on 20 mileage accumulation dynamometers at speeds up to 100 mph.

All types of automotive products are evaluated at Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) for durability, design, and performance. A major activity involves the evaluation of gasolines and gasoline additives for their effects throughout the fuel, induction, combustion, and exhaust systems. Deposit formation and its effects on emissions, driveability, octane requirement, fuel economy, and vehicle performance are routinely investigated.

Vehicles are operated on public roadways, mileage accumulation dynamometers, or test tracks to provide a large variety of driving patterns and conditions. Temperature effects can be evaluated down to -28° C in a large cold-room. The durability and performance of alternative-fueled vehicles are evaluated, such as compressed natural gas (CNG), methanol, and LPG. Other activities include competitive vehicle analysis, mobile data acquisition, development and refinement of test methods, investigation of component durability, and performance.

Mileage Accumulation Dynamometers

SwRI has 24 mileage accumulation dynamometers available that can accurately and consistently load and drive vehicles so that comparison tests can easily be conducted without dynamometer or driver variability. Vehicles on the mileage accumulation dynamometers are run at speeds up to 100 miles per hour. This state-of-the-art facility provides rapid, cost-effective vehicle testing for cars or light trucks. These dynamometers can simulate normal road use of more than 2,000 miles per day. With 500 horsepower, SwRI's dynamometers can also accommodate high-performance muscle cars at speeds up to 100 miles per hour.

Fuel Blending Facility

A 6,000-square foot fuel blending facility provides specialized blending of automotive fuels and temperature controlled storage of fuel and fuel additives. Fuel blending is performed in seven stainless steel tanks, six of which have 600-gallon capacities while the seventh has an 1,100-gallon capacity. Various blends of fuels and fuel additives can be performed, on a volumetric basis, including gasoline, diesel, ethanol, and methanol. The facility has a temperature-controlled room for storage of up to ninety-six 55-gallon drums. Temperature-controlled fuel additive storage and measurement rooms are combined in the facility.

Technical Strengths in Fuels Performance Evaluations

  • Port fuel injector (PFI) deposits
  • Intake valve deposits
  • Combustion chamber deposits
  • Octane number (ORI) requirement measurement
  • Coolant performance
  • Cold temperature effects
  • Vehicle durability
  • Fuel development programs
  • Component evaluations
  • Vehicle performance evaluations
  • Mobile data acquisition
  • Mileage accumulation dynamometer
  • Valve sticking evaluations

Related Terminology

alternative fuel  •  fuel performance evaluation  •  gasoline additives  •  renewable fuel  •  biodiesel diesel  •  fuel additive  •  emissions characterization  •  emissions testing  •  mileage accumulation dynamometer  •  fuel blending  •  fuel technology  •  fuel economy  •  intake valve deposits  •  valve sticking evaluation

International Alternative Fuel Technology Center (IAFTC),
Robert Burrahm, Assistant Director, Office of Automotive Engineering, 210-522-3064,

Benefiting government, industry and the public through innovative science and technology
Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®), headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, is a multidisciplinary, independent, nonprofit, applied engineering and physical sciences research and development organization with 9 technical divisions.