Electric Vehicle

Improving Electric Vehicle Range and Passenger Comfort with Energy Efficient Climate Control

Generally 18% to 14% of the battery’s energy capacity is used to heat or cool an Electric Vehicle according to a paper published on Energy Exploration and Exploitation Journal.  This means a substantial amount of energy is needed to run the climate control system (CCS), draining the battery and limiting the range of your vehicle. Fortunately, EU researchers have developed an energy efficient climate control system for EVs.

Humidity and temperature regulating hybrid system

The XERIC CCS system is a hybrid system that uses a liquid desiccant cycle to combat humidity, and combines it with a traditional vapor compression cycle that combats temperature. The new system consists of a highly-compact three-fluid –combined membrane contactor (3F-CMC), desiccant solution and a refrigerant.  Humidity is captured by the membrane interface, increasing dry air content in the vehicle, which reduces the amount of energy required by the battery to dehumidify the air according to project coordinator, Gaeta Soccorso. A traditional climate control system works by condensing water.

Significant energy use reduction

The prototype has already been tested and the researchers have demonstrated that it can reduce energy used by the CCS yearly by more than 50%. This included energy used for air heating, dehumidifying, and cooling.  Traditional vehicles with internal combustion engines and other transport means such as boats, buses, and trains can also use this system to reduce fuel consumption and air pollution.

For people putting a lot of miles on their fuel efficient car, the new CCS may help save them a lot of money, and make maintaining their vehicles cheaper than before. The average American spent roughly $1,977 in 2017 on gasoline for their vehicles according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. When you combine that with the the over $800 spent on car insurance on average every year, it becomes a significant amount.

Other range increasing innovations

While XERIC system is enhancing battery energy efficiency for EVs, other researchers are working on batteries that give EVs greater range. For instance, researchers from the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology have used a silver manganate nanoplate to create a safer and energy efficient battery. It is an aluminum-based air flow battery that could allow for battery packs that will give EVs a longer range. The battery has a higher energy density and a longer cycle life compared to existing EV battery technology, and is cheaper compared to existing batteries.

The battery has a higher energy density than gasoline meaning that an electric car with an aluminum-based air flow battery can run up to 700 km. If this technology is combined with the XERIC system, it could make EVs more attractive to drivers now and in the future. They are another sign that gasoline powered vehicles may be on their way out.