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Technical Paper

Modeling Control Strategies and Range Impacts for Electric Vehicle Integrated Thermal Management Systems with MATLAB/Simulink

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL’s) CoolSim MATLAB/Simulink modeling framework was used to explore control strategies for an electric vehicle combined loop system. Three system variants of increased complexity and efficiency were explored: a glycol-based positive temperature coefficient heater (PTC), PTC with power electronics and electric motor (PEEM) waste heat recovery, and PTC with PEEM waste heat recovery plus heat pump versions. Additionally, the benefit of electric motor preheating was considered. A two-level control strategy was developed where the mode selection and component control were treated separately. Only the parameters typically available by vehicle sensors were used to control the system. The control approach included a mode selection algorithm and controllers for the compressor speed, cabin blower flow rate, coolant flow rate, and the front-end heat exchanger coolant bypass rate.
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.
Technical Paper

Total Thermal Management of Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs)

The key hurdles to achieving wide consumer acceptance of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are weather-dependent drive range, higher cost, and limited battery life. These translate into a strong need to reduce a significant energy drain and resulting drive range loss due to auxiliary electrical loads the predominant of which is the cabin thermal management load. Studies have shown that thermal sub-system loads can reduce the drive range by as much as 45% under ambient temperatures below −10 °C. Often, cabin heating relies purely on positive temperature coefficient (PTC) resistive heating, contributing to a significant range loss. Reducing this range loss may improve consumer acceptance of BEVs. The authors present a unified thermal management system (UTEMPRA) that satisfies diverse thermal and design needs of the auxiliary loads in BEVs.
Technical Paper

Range Extension Opportunities While Heating a Battery Electric Vehicle

The Kia Soul battery electric vehicle (BEV) is available with either a positive temperature coefficient (PTC) heater or an R134a heat pump (HP) with PTC heater combination [1]. The HP uses both ambient air and waste heat from the motor, inverter, and on-board-charger (OBC) for its heat source. Hanon Systems, Hyundai America Technical Center, Inc. (HATCI) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory jointly, with financial support from the U.S. Department of Energy, developed and proved-out technologies that extend the driving range of a Kia Soul BEV while maintaining thermal comfort in cold climates. Improved system configuration concepts that use thermal storage and waste heat more effectively were developed and evaluated. Range extensions of 5%-22% at ambient temperatures ranging from 5 °C to −18 °C were demonstrated. This paper reviews the three-year effort, including test data of the baseline and modified vehicles, resulting range extension, and recommendations for future actions.