Research project digs into thermal management for e-cars

August 22, 2012 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Driving range is considered a key factor for the attractiveness of electric cars. Researchers from Bosch, Daimler, Sitronic, the research institute for automotive technology and vehicle motors (FKFS) and engine cooling expert company Behr GmbH have joined forces to develop a thermal management concept optimized for electrically driven vehicles. The goal is to significantly reduce the energy expenditure required to keep the power train components of e-cars.

In the GaTE project (the acronym stands for "Ganzheitliches Thermomanagement im E-Fahrzeug" or "Holistic thermal management for electric vehicles"), the partners get granular on energy-efficient designs for cooling systems. The group focuses on a coolant heat pump with an optimized valve concept, which also will enable a reliant, cost-efficient and energy-saving air conditioning of the passenger compartment. A modular strategy, which will be applicable to novel powertrains as well as to conventional ones, will also help to keep the overall cost low. Moreover, the researchers believe that by increasing the share of re-circulated air they can achieve comparable engine power with less electric energy – which, in turn, will reduce the requirements for the batteries.

However, by increasing the share of re-circulated air, the humidity generated by the car passengers will be led away to a lesser extend. Thus, the windows tend to fog up. For this reasons, a novel humidity sensor will measure the humidity and countermeasures can be taken.

The results of the research project will be available in about three years. The project is funded in part by the German research ministry.