Supplier Valeo is currently working on reducing the power consumption of the heating and cooling systems for plug-in and fully electric vehicles.

The real challenge lies in reducing energy consumption during the coldest winter days and hottest summer nights.  According to Valeo, during extreme temperatures, the heating and cooling system of the car draws as much energy as it takes to power the vehicle down the road.

Valeo estimates that it takes 8kW to heat a car at the extreme temperature of -4 Fahrenheit, approximately the same as required to motivate the vehicle.  The company hopes to cut that number in half through some creative product uses and new designs.

The new system will look into creative ways to insulate the vehicle and to enhance air flow to certain areas of the body.  By selectively enhancing airflow, they hope to make the driver and passenger feel more comfortable without actually increasing the heat output.

Valeo has gone so far as to partner with a psychology lab to study how to may a system where people think they feel warmer.

If you can reduce the power consumption of the heating and cooling system, an EV would have a longer range in extreme temperature situations.  Most drivers are not willing to sacrifice comfort for driving range, so Valeo is creatively working towards a solution.

Source:  Wards Auto  (Login required)