Jeffers, M., Chaney, L., and Rugh, J., "Climate Control Load Reduction Strategies for Electric Drive Vehicles in Warm Weather," SAE Technical Paper 2015-01-0355, 2015, doi:10.4271/2015-01-0355.
Passenger compartment climate control is one of the largest auxiliary loads on a vehicle. Like conventional vehicles, electric vehicles (EVs) require climate control to maintain occupant comfort and safety, but cabin heating and air conditioning have a negative impact on driving range for all-electric vehicles. Range reduction caused by climate control and other factors is a barrier to widespread adoption of EVs. Reducing the thermal loads on the climate control system will extend driving range, thereby reducing consumer range anxiety and increasing the market penetration of EVs.Researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory have investigated strategies for vehicle climate control load reduction, with special attention toward EVs. Outdoor vehicle thermal testing was conducted on two 2012 Ford Focus Electric vehicles to evaluate thermal management strategies for warm weather, including solar load reduction and cabin pre-ventilation. An advanced thermal test manikin was used to assess a zonal approach to climate control. In addition, vehicle thermal analysis was used to support testing by exploring thermal load reduction strategies, evaluating occupant thermal comfort, and calculating EV range impacts. Through stationary cooling tests and vehicle simulations, a zonal cooling configuration demonstrated range improvement of 6%-15%, depending on the drive cycle. A combined cooling configuration that incorporated thermal load reduction and zonal cooling strategies showed up to 33% improvement in EV range.