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Technical Paper

Modeling of an Electric Vehicle Thermal Management System in MATLAB/Simulink

Electric vehicles (EVs) need highly optimized thermal management systems to improve range. Climate control can reduce vehicle efficiency and range by more than 50%. Due to the relative shortage of waste heat, heating the passenger cabin in EVs is difficult. Cabin cooling can take a high portion of the energy available in the battery. Compared to internal combustion engine-driven vehicles, different heating methods and more efficient cooling methods are needed, which can make EV thermal management systems more complex. More complex systems typically allow various alternative modes of operation that can be selected based on driving and ambient conditions. A good system simulation tool can greatly reduce the time and expense for developing these complex systems. A simulation model should also be able to efficiently co-simulate with vehicle simulation programs, and should be applicable for evaluating various control algorithms.
Journal Article

Combined Fluid Loop Thermal Management for Electric Drive Vehicle Range Improvement

Electric drive vehicles (EDVs) have complex thermal management requirements not present in conventional vehicles. In addition to cabin conditioning, the energy storage system (ESS) and power electronics and electric motor (PEEM) subsystems also require thermal management. Many current-generation EDVs utilize separate cooling systems, adding both weight and volume, and lack abundant waste heat from an engine for cabin heating. Some use battery energy to heat the cabin via electrical resistance heating, which can result in vehicle range reductions of 50% under cold ambient conditions. These thermal challenges present an opportunity for integrated vehicle thermal management technologies that reduce weight and volume and increase cabin heating efficiency. Bench testing was conducted to evaluate a combined fluid loop technology that unifies the cabin air-conditioning and heating, ESS thermal management, and PEEM cooling into a single liquid coolant-based system.
Technical Paper

MATLAB/Simulink Framework for Modeling Complex Coolant Flow Configurations of Advanced Automotive Thermal Management Systems

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL’s) CoolSim MATLAB/Simulink modeling framework was expanded by including a newly developed coolant loop solution method aimed at reducing the simulation effort for complex thermal management systems. The new approach does not require the user to identify specific coolant loops and their flow. The user only needs to connect the fluid network elements in a manner consistent with the desired schematic. Using the new solution method, a model of NREL's advanced combined coolant loop system for electric vehicles was created that reflected the test system architecture. This system was built using components provided by MAHLE Inc. and included both air conditioning and heat pump modes. Validation with test bench data and verification with the previous solution method were performed for 10 operating points spanning a range of ambient temperatures between -2°C and 43°C.