R134a Heat Pump for Improved Passenger Comfort
As powertrains continue to get more efficient, less waste heat is available for warming the passenger compartment. Although several supplemental heating devices are currently on the market, including electric heaters, viscous heaters, and fuel operated heaters, they each have shortcomings related to cost, capacity, efficiency, and/or environmental concerns. In an attempt to provide superior time-to-comfort in a cost, weight, package efficient, and environmentally friendly manner, an R134a heat pump (HP) system was developed. Several technical issues were overcome while developing this system. Production vehicles have been retrofitted to incorporate the R134a heat pump system and tested in a climatic wind tunnel. Test results for a -18°C warm-up test were compared to baseline data, showing significant improvements in average discharge air and breath level temperatures.