Heating and cooling an EV presents a special challenge, as battery power must be used for climate control, which can significantly reduce range. Automakers and researchers around the world are working on a range of alternative solutions.
Nissan and Volkswagen both use heat pumps in their EVs. The JOSPEL project, a consortium of organizations from 9 European countries, is working to develop an energy-efficient climate control system. Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute is exhibiting a flexible solution that uses a nanotube-based film at this week’s International Motor Show in Frankfurt.
Also at the Frankfurt show, automotive supplier Bosch is presenting a new heat-pump-based system that it says can increase an EV’s range by up to 25%. Bosch’s system, which uses a vehicle’s coolant fluid to distribute heat and cold, uses a heat pump with a rating of 1,000 watts to generate heat equivalent to an output of 2,000 to 3,000 watts.
The new system relies on precisely controllable pumps and valves that collect heat and cold at source and transport them to where they are needed. The pump makes use of the small amount of heat that is generated by an electric powertrain, when sending electricity to the motor and when regenerative braking is applied, as well as the energy used to cool the battery in a hot climate.
Most of the individual components can already be found in commercially available applications, according to Bosch.
“Smart thermal management means a big step forward for electric cars,” says Bosch Board Member Dr. Rolf Bulander.