Climate Control Load Reduction Strategies for Electric Drive Vehicles in Cold Weather
When operated, the cabin climate control system is the largest auxiliary load on a vehicle. This load has significant impact on fuel economy for conventional and hybrid vehicles, and it drastically reduces the driving range of all-electric vehicles (EVs). Heating is even more detrimental to EV range than cooling because no engine waste heat is available. Reducing the thermal loads on the vehicle climate control system will extend driving range and increase the market penetration of EVs. Researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory have evaluated strategies for vehicle climate control load reduction with special attention toward grid-connected electric vehicles. Outdoor vehicle thermal testing and computational modeling were used to assess potential strategies for improved thermal management and to evaluate the effectiveness of thermal load reduction technologies. A human physiology model was also used to evaluate the impact on occupant thermal comfort.