Browse Publications Technical Papers 2010-01-0799

Proposal for a Vehicle Level Test Procedure to Measure Air Conditioning Fuel Use 2010-01-0799

The air-conditioning (A/C) compressor load significantly impacts the fuel economy of conventional vehicles and the fuel use/range of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV). A National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) vehicle performance analysis shows the operation of the air conditioner reduces the charge depletion range of a 40-mile range PHEV from 18% to 30% in a worst case hot environment. Designing for air conditioning electrical loads impacts PHEV and electric vehicle (EV) energy storage system size and cost. While automobile manufacturers have climate control procedures to assess A/C performance, and the U.S. EPA has the SCO3 drive cycle to measure indirect A/C emissions, there is no automotive industry consensus on a vehicle level A/C fuel use test procedure. With increasing attention on A/C fuel use due to increased regulatory activities and the development of PHEVs and EVs, a test procedure is needed to accurately assess the impact of climate control loads.
A vehicle thermal soak period is recommended, with solar lamps that meet the SCO3 requirements or an alternative heating method such as portable electric heaters. After soaking, the vehicle is operated over repeated drive cycles or at a constant speed until steady-state cabin air temperature is attained. With this method, the cooldown and steady-state A/C fuel use are measured. This method can be run at either different ambient temperatures to provide data for the GREEN-MAC-LCCP model temperature bins or at a single representative ambient temperature. Vehicles with automatic climate systems are allowed to control as designed, while vehicles with manual climate systems are adjusted to approximate expected climate control settings. An A/C off test is also run for all drive profiles. This procedure measures approximate real-world A/C fuel use and assess the impact of thermal load reduction strategies.


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