As part of its mission to support the decarbonization of the global transportation and energy sectors, engineering and strategic consulting company Ricardo has received UK government funding to optimize in-car thermal and energy management systems, the intent being to improve electric vehicle range and battery performance.
Ricardo engineers say they will take an approach of looking holistically at whole vehicle thermal management and use digital modeling techniques to optimize the thermal and control systems. The research will focus on energy consumption and driver/passenger comfort, with the aim of increasing electric vehicle range by 5% while reducing overall cost by 10%. The project has been funded by the Office for Zero Emissions Vehicles (OZEV) in partnership with Innovate UK.
Currently, the range of an electric vehicle is affected by hot and cold ambient temperatures. When drivers turn up the heat in their car in winter or enjoy air conditioning in the summer, electrical energy consumption increases, reducing the range of an electric vehicle by almost one third. To reduce thermal system energy consumption, individual technologies have been proposed in isolation without adapting the rest of the vehicle systems to take advantage of them.
Ricardo says it will apply advanced control approaches which automatically establish the best way of integrating new components and thermal system architectures into electric vehicles, taking a system level approach. Additionally, the project will seek to improve range by reducing energy consumption, product development time and costs through a predictive thermal management system using an electronic horizon. It will also optimize driver/passenger comfort using a ‘comfort controller’: an innovative approach to in-car passenger experience which will regulate heat sources to achieve a comfort level instead of a specified temperature.