EVs use a lot of their precious electricity heating occupiers in winter so improvements are afoot.
Making replacements for dumb structural parts that double as occupant focussed heating has attraction as has directed infrared - "heat the person not the space" but less focussed heat pumps are efficient contenders. See the IDTechEx report, Structural Electronics 2017-2027: Applications, Technologies, Forecasts .
It is a matter of complexity with the heat pump option. It may be easier (and faster acting) to apply resistive heating to where it is most appreciated (seat, steering wheel) than to use a more efficient heat pump to heat the whole cabin. The principle is seen in load-bearing self-heating aircraft wing structure for deicing. Sometimes some of the chill can be removed by taking electricity directly from the new wide area high-efficiency structural photovoltaics appearing on more and more of the new EV models. Structural supercapacitors may help further when cost-effective. The future is smart skin and smart load-bearing structure.
AIMPLAS, the Plastics Technology Centre, together with other partners of the EU project JOSPEL, funded by the Horizon 2020 Program under Grant Agreement Nº 653851, has developed an innovative heating system for electric vehicles consisting of thermoplastic heating panels which can be placed in different parts of the car, thus reducing the energy consumption in a 30% compared to conventional heating systems.
The system is based on the Joule effect in which electrical conductive materials produce heat when a voltage is applied. (Also called resistive or ohmic heating.)
Conductive fillers were introduced in a thermoplastic polymer matrix by melt compounding in AIMPLAS' pilot plant. The processing parameters are key in achieving the proper electrical properties with the lowest content of conductive filler, according to Begoña Galindo, the main researcher at JOSPEL.
These innovative compounds can be used in items produced by injection moulding and extrusion for heating in vehicles and houses.
Heating and cooling systems are very important in terms of energy consumption in electric vehicles (up to 40% of the total energy consumption). Developing a more efficient heating system will have a huge positive impact on the energy consumption, thus allowing the increase of the distance range of the vehicle.
The JOSPEL project aims to develop a novel energy-efficient climate system for the optimization of interior temperature control management in EVs through an integrated approach that combines the application of the thermoelectric Joule and Peltier effect; the development of an efficient insulation of the vehicle interior; energy recovery from heat zones; battery life increase as a side effect of thermal management; battery consumption reduction by Peltier cooling integration; innovative automated and eco-driving strategies; and the electronic control of power flows.
The main objective is the reduction of at least 50% of energy used for passenger comfort (<1,250 W) and at least 30% for component cooling in extreme conditions with reference to electric vehicles currently on the market.
AIMPLAS, the Plastics Technology Centre is located in Valencia, Spain and is recorded at the Register of Technological Centres of the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness. The institute is member of FEDIT (Spanish Federation of Innovation and Technology Entities) and REDIT (Network of Technological Institutes of the Valencia Region).
AIMPLAS is a non-profit research association with the object to operate as a technological partner for enterprises from the plastics industry and thus offering them integral and customized solutions by coordinating research, development and innovation projects as well as technology services (analysis and testing, technical assistance, training as well as competitive and strategic intelligence).
Credit and images: Green Car Congress
Learn more at the next leading event on the topic: Electric Vehicles: Everything is Changing. Europe 2017 on 10 - 11 May 2017 in Berlin, Germany hosted by IDTechEx.