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New approaches in thermal management

  • Magazine Article
  • 20AUTP03_03
Published March 01, 2020 by SAE International in United States
  • English

Electric vehicles are driving new technologies in cabin heating, ultra-fast battery charging and secondary-loop heat pumps.

Vehicle thermal management, once almost exclusively about safely rejecting powertrain heat, continues to evolve. Engineers currently are focusing on two extremes in operation of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) - accumulating every possible BTU for cabin heating in winter and cooling battery packs in high-ambient, high-load operation while preparing for a future with ultra-fast recharging.

Climate control systems, primarily heating in winter but also air-conditioning (A/C) in warmer months, have been a major focus for BEVs because conventional heaters (PTC and resistance) and A/C operation smack down vehicle range by an overall average of about 33%. Significant new developments in this vital area of vehicle development were discussed at SAE's annual Thermal Management Systems Symposium (TMSS;