Heat pump uses ambient energy for interior heating in e-cars

October 01, 2012 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Visteon Corporation has developed a heat pump system for hybrid and electric vehicles that utilizes ambient air and ancillary heat to improve cabin conditioning. By drawing less power from the drivetrain battery, vehicles equipped with the heat pump system can operate longer on a single charge.

Combustion engines create waste heat that be used to warm the vehicle cabin. Since hybrid and electric vehicles generate considerably less heat, the climate system must produce heat for the cabin, a process that drains power from the battery. Visteon's heat pump system transfers energy contained in the ambient air to cool and heat the cabin. Its electric compressor cools the cabin of a hybrid or electric vehicle by operating the refrigerant cycle in one direction, and heats the cabin by operating the cycle in the reverse direction.

According to Visteon, the new heat pump system consumes about 50 percent less power and can extend the number of kilometres driven on a battery charge by 30 percent, compared to an electric heater during a New York City drive cycle at minus 10 degrees Celsius. What could make Visteon's system even more interesting to car manufacturers is that it can be integrated into an existing automotive climate system architecture, said Visteon general manager climate, Europe, Nurdal Kuecuekkaya.