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High Efficiency Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) and System Cooling

The cooling requirements for hybrid and electric vehicles present different challenges from those of conventionally powered vehicles. Batteries and circuitry can generate a large amount of heat which needs to be dissipated, and many components are susceptible to failure if the temperature of their immediate environment falls outside a relatively narrow band. Low carbon vehicle HVAC and cooling systems therefore need to be designed not only to meet the expectations of the user, but also to promote efficiency through reduced energy wastage.

Maintaining a comfortable temperature within a vehicle cabin without placing a heavy load on the battery is becoming a significant factor in hybrid electric vehicle design.

Achievements include:
  • Validated concepts for cooling major functional systems in low carbon vehicles including engines, power electronics, control units, machines and batteries
  • Validated control algorithms for cooling and heating systems
  • A new design proposal for an electric air-conditioning system
  • Concepts to improve cabin heating and cooling efficiency in electric vehicles whilst maintaining thermal comfort for occupants, thus reducing energy wastage


Business Impact – New Products and Processes
MIRA used to gauge thermal comfort either by in-vehicle temperature measurement or by using proprietary temperature predicting software. However, human comfort is influenced by a number of factors including air flow, solar load, humidity, clothing and metabolism. The project team incorporated a human manikin, with a representative physiological model behind it, into their existing heat transfer analysis software. This is a huge step forward for thermal prediction as it enables MIRA to evaluate the impact of a range of factors on human comfort, rather than just focusing simply on temperature measurements.

Jaguar Land Rover is utilising the project results to accelerate research into new high efficiency electric air-conditioning systems and to establish investigation into heating technologies designed to compensate for the lack of waste heat from an internal combustion engine. This work will provide the foundations of enabling technologies allowing future development of vehicles that utilise high efficiency propulsion.

Coventry University’s COGENT team have been working with Jaguar Land Rover to expand its work on the management of human thermal environments. This has moved academic knowledge forward including proposals for better sensing techniques in-vehicle, allowing a more effective measurement of thermal comfort. Jaguar Land Rover and COGENT’s work has also included investigation into using existing components to implement an algorithm designed to keep conditioned air in the cabin while minimising the build-up of CO2.

WMG and Tata Motors European Technical Centre (TMETC) have worked together to develop cooling control systems that can improve the efficiency of cooling systems used to control the temperature of various elements of electric and hybrid electric vehicles. The work done as part of this project has served to accelerate the development of electric vehicles while establishing agreater expertise in the West Midlands.

Ricardo has developed a thermo-hydraulic model of the cooling circuit and air conditioning of the EV and REEV and developed a model for the prediction of the impact on vehicle range by the loads placed on the vehicle’s power train due to powertrain and cabin cooling and heating. This puts Ricardo in an excellent position as a partner to OEMs developing low carbon vehicles.

Ricardo and MIRA have worked together to develop, assess and validate proposals for ways to control the heat lost and energy gained by the cabin of a vehicle. Both partners are now better placed to provide expert advice to vehicle OEMs.


    Thermal Manikin

    Lead Partner

    Jaguar Land Rover

    Supporting Expertise

    Coventry University
    Tata Motors European Technical Centre (TMETC)