Design and Testing of a Thermal Storage System for Electric Vehicle Cabin Heating 2016-01-0248
Without the waste heat available from the engine of a conventional automobile, electric vehicles (EVs) must provide heat to the cabin for climate control using energy stored in the vehicle. In current EV designs, this energy is typically provided by the traction battery. In very cold climatic conditions, the power required to heat the EV cabin can be of a similar magnitude to that required for propulsion of the vehicle. As a result, the driving range of an EV can be reduced very significantly during winter months, which limits consumer acceptance of EVs and results in increased battery costs to achieve a minimum range while ensuring comfort to the EV driver. To minimize the range penalty associated with EV cabin heating, a novel climate control system that includes thermal energy storage has been designed for use in EVs and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). The system uses the stored latent heat of an advanced phase change material (PCM) to provide cabin heating. The PCM is melted while the EV is connected to the electric grid for charging of the electric battery, and the stored energy is subsequently transferred to the cabin during driving. To minimize thermal losses when the EV is parked for extended periods, the PCM is encased in a high performance insulation system. The electrical PCM-Assisted Thermal Heating System (ePATHS) was designed to provide enough thermal energy to heat the EV’s cabin for approximately 46 minutes, covering the entire daily commute of a typical driver in the U.S.