In some electric cars, the hardware that keeps occupants cool does the same for the battery pack.
The air-conditioning condensers for EVs are for more than just cabin comfort, in many cases, supplier Mahle noted in a recent press release. They help keep the battery cool during driving and are especially important during higher-power fast-charging.
Mahle is hawking a new condenser to automakers designed with this purpose in mind. It helps regulate the temperature of both the cabin and battery pack, ensuring occupants are comfortable and that the battery doesn't overheat, without taking up excess interior space.
That interaction between powertrain and cabin thermal-management systems is one of the novel aspects of electric cars, Mahle noted. In most internal-combustion cars, a radiator is used to keep the engine from overheating, while a separate air-conditioning system handles cabin temperature.
Suppliers have been challenged to deliver upgraded systems for electric car without taking up more space in the vehicle.
Mahle condenser for electric cars
Faster charging requires more attention to cooling, both for the vehicle and for the charging hardware. In addition to more robust cooling systems for cars, some hardware makers have expanded the use of liquid-cooled charging cables.
Cooling is of the utmost importance to keep fast charging reliable. The air-cooled Nissan Leaf battery has had heat issues during fast-charging—especially on successive fast-charges.
Volkswagen recently build a proving ground for fast-charging in the heat, installing a mix of charging stations of different standards and power outputs at its Arizona proving grounds, where temperatures can reach up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Alternatively, Lucid Motors claims to have reduced the resistance throughout its systems, partly by moving to a 900+ volt architecture—thus requiring less energy for cooling.