Ford Manager to Deliver Keynote at SAE International Symposium on Thermal Management

SAE International Member Daniel Kok, Ph, Manager of Advanced Electrified Powertrain Systems, Ford Motor Co., will deliver one of the two keynote addresses at the October 9-11 SAE International Thermal Management Systems Symposium in San Diego. In addition to the two keynote addresses (the other will be by Tony Vespa of Hyundai), the symposium will feature 12 sessions on topics ranging from regulations to simulation to cabin comfort—and many areas in between. Multiple experts will speak at each session.
SAE International bills the symposium as a venue at which will be discussed “new concepts to provide passenger compartment heating and cooling, as well as heating and cooling of batteries and cooling vehicle fuel systems.” The event will include an exhibit.
Asked by SAE’s Update what he plans to say at his keynote presentation on October 9, Fords Kok said:
“The automotive industry is in the midst of rapidly expanding its electrified vehicle portfolio. Early adopters of hybrids (HEVs), plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs) have been willing to accept some attribute trade-offs like degraded performance for improved fuel economy or less interior space for more electric range. Ford’s next generation of electrified vehicles must appeal to a wide range of customers. This provides a challenge for product development engineers: How to minimize trade-offs and maximize customer satisfaction.
“Fortunately,” Kok continued, “the latest advancements in battery and e-drive technology help us achieve these goals in better ways. I plan to share insights into new methods of data analytics that help us understand electrified vehicle usage and thereby enable us to set targets for high-voltage components like batteries, electric motors and on-board chargers. Most electrified systems require operation at temperatures lower than the traditional internal-combustion engine, so we need to carefully (re-)design the vehicle cooling system to allow these systems to operate correctly. Li-ion batteries in particular may require some form of heating/pre-conditioning in cold climate conditions. We’ll look at the component requirements, quantify energy flows and focus on specific challenges and system interactions.”
New challenges can also be found in the heating ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) system. “Here, we’ll discuss how exhaust gas heat recovery systems and heat pumps may play a specific role in the field of FHEVs, PHEVs and BEVs,” Kok added.
Kok noted that HEV, PHEV and BEVs have more thermal system contents on board than vehicles with a traditional Internal Combustion Engine powertrain. “Combined with the democratization of electrified vehicle technology, this drives the need for OEMs and the supply base to develop cost-optimized thermal system solutions,” he said.
Asked to dispel some of the bigger misconceptions about thermal management, Kok mentioned two items:
  • “Electrified powertrain components produce an order of magnitude less heat and hence are easier to cool. Unfortunately, these systems tend to operate at much lower temperatures and tighter temperature ranges, making them more complex to control.”
  • “The range capability of a BEV depends on a variety of factors including drive cycle, environment, and auxiliary vehicle loads such as climate control. Unfortunately, in the absence of free waste heat from an internal-combustion engine, a BEV’s range can be significantly impacted by how much energy the HVAC system consumes for heating in cold climate conditions.”
What is the most interesting thermal management technology that Ford is working on at the moment? “We increasingly use big-data analytics to understand the environment and customers’ usage of our vehicles,” Kok answered. “This enables us to design better thermal management solutions for electrified and autonomous vehicles alike. A lot of our attention is given to integrating subsystems to reduce overall vehicle cost.”
Kok has more than 20 patents to his name. “Most are focused on energy management and relate to start-stop and hybrid operations,” he said. “As such they have an indirect impact on thermal management. One older one covers the use of thermo-electric materials for in-vehicle use.”

A seven-year SAE Member, Kok is involved with the organization mostly through conferences such as this one. “It gives me the opportunity to stay up to date on latest development trends and connect with people from the industry,” he said.
In his current position, Kok is responsible for powertrain system design of Ford’s next generation of HEV, PHEV and BEV vehicles. In 2011, he transferred from Ford’s European operations to Ford’s Engineering Center in Dearborn, Mich.
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