Thermal management in electric vehicles

Thermal conditions inside the EV are markedly different from those of ICE vehicles. What challenges does this create, and how are automakers adapting?

Thermal management in electric vehicles

The average electric vehicle buyer will have no specific interest in a vehicle’s thermal management system, yet these systems play a huge role in determining an EV’s range, reliability and robustness. It is true that modern EVs have ranges that make everyday life perfectly possible, whether a quick trip to the supermarket, or a Sunday drive in sunny weather. But what if a driver needs to make a long journey in sub-zero conditions—a trip that tests the limits of an EV’s range which will also require in-vehicle heating? In these circumstances, the figures can be quite worrying: at zero degree Celsius, ranges might drop as much as 30%.

This is one of the many challenges which EV thermal management systems must address: EVs operate at far lower temperatures than ICEs, and must scrape together waste heat wherever they can find it, whereas ICEs can generally heat a car without issue, using the escaped thermal energy from an engine. Other issues for EVs include increasingly fast charging capabilities; a necessary component of increased EV uptake, but one that is potentially bad news for cells. These challenges and more are covered in this latest special report from Automotive World.

In this report:

'Special report: Thermal management in electric vehicles’ presents insight from:

  • IDTechEx
  • Imperial College London
  • Infineon
  • Mann+Hummel
  • Nio
  • Shell
  • The Faraday Institution
  • Thermal Management Systems (formerly Wahler, Magal and Dauphinoise Thomson)

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