Energy Efficiency and Performance of Cabin Thermal Management in Electric Vehicles

Paper #:
  • 2017-01-0192

Published:
  • 2017-03-28
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Abstract:
The presented research investigates the energy efficiency and performance of cabin thermal management in electric vehicles. Efficient cabin thermal management is important, because the energy used for cabin cooling and heating can drastically reduce the operating range of electric vehicles. A simulation model of a full electric vehicle with cabin heating and cooling systems was developed in AMESim software. The model includes an electric powertrain, thermal systems and a cabin model. The cabin heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems consist of a heat pump, electric heater and waste heat recovery system as well as necessary auxiliary devices. The waste heat is recovered from power electronics and electric motor cooling circuit by a specific heat exchanger which is integrated in the heat pump refrigerant circuit. In colder conditions, a separate electric heater can be used to ensure passenger comfort. Because the battery operating temperature is crucial for the vehicle performance, the air cooled battery can also be heated with an electric heater. Simulations are carried out in the standard test cycles and real world driving cycles to take into account different driving behaviors and conditions. The performance of thermal management is analyzed in relation to the operating conditions, system efficiency and cabin thermal comfort. The preliminary simulation results show that the driving range can be even 50% lower in cold conditions if only a conventional cabin HVAC system is being used. The energy efficiency of the cabin thermal management can be improved e.g. by using a heat pump and recovering waste heat from other components. The simulations also indicate that the battery thermal management has an important impact on the total energy efficiency of electric vehicles.
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