$7.5 Million Project Aims To Develop Energy Efficient Climate Control For Electric Cars

JUL 13 2015 BY STAFF 36

Jospel Project

Jospel Project

Since a lot of energy is consumed heating & cooling today’s electric vehicles, a trans-European collaboration (fully funded to the tune of  €6.7-million – US$7.5-million by the European Commission) was established to “develop a novel energy efficient climate control system to help reduce the energy used for passenger comfort in electric vehicles by at least 50%.”

Here are the details:

GV-2-2014 – Optimised and systematic energy management in electric vehicles


Specific challenge: Range limitation, due to the limited storage capacity of electric batteries, is one of the major drawbacks of electric vehicles. The main challenge will be to achieve a systematic energy management of the vehicle based on the integration of components and sub-systems. The problem is worsened by the need to use part of the storage capacity in order to feed auxiliary equipment such as climate control. In extreme conditions up to 50% of the batteries’ capacity is absorbed by these systems. The systematic management of energy in electric vehicles is a means to gain extended range without sacrificing comfort. The challenge is therefore to extend the range of electric vehicles in all weather conditions.

Scope: Proposals should address the combination of the following developments: comprehensive thermal management system (including thermal insulation, innovative heating and cooling approaches), battery life duration enhancement as a side effect of thermal management, electronic control of energy and power flows, energy efficiency of electrified accessories, energy harvesting functions and automated and eco-driving strategies.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 3 to 8 million each would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected impact: Research and innovation activities will contribute to a faster introduction of electric and plug-in hybrid cars. Cars autonomy will be increased thanks to a reduction of at least 50% of energy used for passenger comfort and at least 30% for component cooling in extreme conditions with reference to electric vehicles currently on the market.

Type of action: Research and Innovation Actions

Jospel Objective, Coordinator, Partners, Etc

Jospel Objective, Coordinator, Partners, Etc

Categories: General


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36 Comments on "$7.5 Million Project Aims To Develop Energy Efficient Climate Control For Electric Cars"

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I wonder if anyone just looked into not just heated seats, but cooled seats that are effective (I never been in such a thing so…)?

There would still be a fan for blowing air and windows obviously. Getting rid of an A/C and heating element that would have to cool or heat the whole cabin would free up quite a lot of space upfront. And it’s obvious as the saying goes, it’s better to heat the person, not the air around him/her.

Brian Swanson

I have heat & cooled seats on my Fusion Energi so yes they do exist 🙂


It is called a ‘heat pump’.

Well that and heated seats & steering wheel if you don’t want to do space heating but just do direct contact heating instead.

Scott Franco

So a research project into A/C systems based on peltier effect devices, in spite of the fact that the A/C and refrigeration industries have poured decades of research into them without achieving anywhere near the efficiency that a standard compressor driven heat pump gives.

How could that be a waste of money?


I, too, am skeptical that they can come up with a new and more energy-efficient way to heat or cool the passenger cabin. There might be a way to shave a few percent off the energy used by making the heat pump more efficient, but I rather doubt anyone is gonna suddenly come up with a way to produce heating / cooling using significantly less energy.

Of course, there are radical solutions like using a “cooling suit” that has liquid running in tubes over the surface of the suit. That’s used by M1A1 tank drivers, and also some racecar drivers. But I can’t see the average driver using that sort of thing. Too much time and trouble to put on and take off that sort of suit, plus it would have to be fitted to the individual.


Edit: Make that M1A1 tank crew, not just the drivers.


The heated and cooled seats in Ford products use peltier chips to make the conditioned air that is pumped through the seats and they work quite well.

MTN Ranger

Also, consider a heated windshield like on the Mercedes B-Class Electric is much more efficient than blowing hot air.


“The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 3 to 8 million each would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately.”

The finds would have greater pragmatic effect is use to create better DC Charging Infrastructure vs. studying a perceived issue!


Considering how much power is used by the climate control systems in EVs it’s a viable thing to research.


Actually, a Leaf will loose 30% of its power in the cold. But 65% of the loss is from heating the cabin.
Considering this a constant factor, we can affirm that a bigger battery will loose less percent of its range, this is why a Tesla will loose only 10% of its range in the cold. The 65% shrunk to a smaller number, and as batteries get more and more range, the percentage of loss will gradually become irrelevant. (On the contrary an ICE car will ALWAYS loose 20% efficiency in the cold 🙂

And this is why these investments are useless.


It is “lose” not “loose.” Once is a freebee, but four times makes me lose control.


Thanks, I had a doubt, but no more!


Thanks. Yeah, four times in one post was making my inner Grammar Nazi twitch.

What the heck is so hard about spelling “lose” anyway? Seems like mistaking “loose” for “lose” is the most common spelling error on the entire Internet.

Mark Hovis

English is not the first language for many who contribute here. It also remains the achilles heal for many an engineer that contribute, myself included. Combine that with international engineers, and grammatical errors are going to happen. Still, for the sake of professionalism, consider reaching out to Jay and Eric to offer editing services. What happens behind the scenes could scare you worse than the comments.


Four times yea… Maybe you would have preferred I use inconstantly “lose”and “loose”? I have mistaken, and have apologized. At the opposite of Unplugged, Your comment brings nothing constructive here.
ThAnks again for helping me learn your language.

Nissan could do a lot to improve the climate control efficiency of the LEAF with existing technology. I speak as someone who has driven a 2011 and 2012 LEAF through 3 winters. First, much of the heat is needed for defrosting. There are existing technologies that can defrost a lot more efficiently – it’s just that with all that waste heat in ICE cars it was easier to blow hot air on the windows. Second, heated seats and steering are helps, but the footwell needs local heat, too, as that is where the cold has the greatest impact on the passengers. Many have installed aftermarket devices – if you have these three you have a much smaller requirement to heat the general air. Again, the reason ICE cars never developed that was they have so much waste heat available. Third, give more control to the driver. I realize that starting in 2013 the LEAF has the ability to shut off the heater and leave the climate control on. That was big – I am stunned how often the 2012 LEAF wants to turn on the heater. 75F outside temp, cabin temp set to 69F – heater kicks on. WTF? I… Read more »
Scott Franco

The leafs before 2013 all had electric element heating. 2013 had the heat pump, which cost much less energy.

I’m considering one for my house, which would help also make it solar ready.

Mark Hovis

Hey Scott,
Have you considered a water heat pump, aka geothermal? You can bore vertical as well as horizontal. 30% federal credits along with state credits bring the price down.

Bobby sweet

I don’t understand why u couldn’t open up a Direct vent from the front of the car that hooked to the duct work off the car and have 2 small window vents to let the air flow throw the car for cooling . I know my leaf says it has out side air but I am still runny fans

For winter I just really want a defrost gride (that u have on the back window) to be on my windshield and side windows . Would be nice if it was clear but if not it would be ok if it was around the edges

Mark Hovis

Don’t limit yourself to EVs only. There is a very good chance that we go about conditioning, especially heating in a totally different way in the future. Heating buildings is equally a waste of energy.

neppy san

Ooh, best of luck to them. This will also help ICE cars as well.

Anyone who drives an econobox and has had to turn the AC on knows that this feature saps power like no tomorrow..

This is the right thing to do, and one I’ve been pointing it a long time ago. It’s also a researh project to gather money, (lot of, good for them) for obvious flaw in the design of current EV. Waste is present, even in EV, as the inverter, motor and to some extend the batteries all heat up when they’re use. So instead of having a resistive heater that waste precious energy to overcome the non insulated cabin with pouring vent hole in it that leave cold or hot air to the cabin without harvesting the waste heat of all those ain’t efficient in any way. I have a 2012 Leaf, and it suck in winter. Also when it’s minus 30c° why would you dump excess energy into friction brake when you’re desperate to get some heat in the cabin or heating up the battery. It’s very doable and already done to some extend on Tesla with the cooling/heating loop. It could be better, much better. It would reduced much of the adverse effect cold have on range. It’s so simple, and lot more easy and cheap than put more and more energy in. Just using it intelligently is a… Read more »
Mark Hovis
Bill Howland

Well, Mark, its true that Adsorbtion systems have increased their efficiencies of late (the household italian Robur system that took over the Servel company claims to have twice the co-efficient of performance of the old servel 4 ton units. If that’s true you’d think we’d start seeing those used for building airconditioning again. Especially in areas with pricey electricity and cheap natural gas.

But on a car, you’d need a high temperature heat source to run the generator. So perhaps the best place to test this is on a hot day in Arizona or Texas, with plenty of solar mirrors on the roof of the car.


Passive systems work best. RMI had looked at double-paned glass for automobiles, though replacement costs are insane. Moving from metals to plastics and CF may help with radiance. Adding insulation is useful, but dense foams squeak when moved.


1. better insulation,
2. better insulation,
3. better insulation,
4. direct heating/cooling
5. use regen to heat directly instead of regen-> battery-> heating…
6, bettery insulation.


July 13, 2015 at 6:30 pm

1. better insulation,
2. better insulation,
3. better insulation,
4. direct heating/cooling
ModernMarvelFan said:

“5. use regen to heat directly instead of regen-> battery-> heating…”

Okay, I’ll bite. Regenerative braking is engine braking. How do you propose using an electric motor in engine braking mode — which means it’s in generator mode, using power to generate electricity — to generate heat directly?


Yes it’s easily the best way to recover almost 100% of energy of braking.
Anyway much better in cold since regen in battery is invalidated until it’s warm enough.
For a Leaf, starting from a car that has been in the cold all night this is a long, long, long, long, did I write long, time before you get any regen at all.
Event Tesla owner have complaint about no regen in cold.
So just dump it into resistive element plugging direct current into the motor and you can have the full power of it, even more if control.
In top ideal condition, you can get, if you’re very good at most 30 kw of regen from braking with a 80 kW motor.
But the motor can produce 80 kw of energy in brake mode also.
It’s good to point out that, if you trust Carwings data, regen can account for almost 25% of energy in a trip.
So direct resistive heating with 100% energy of breaking would beat that figure anytime and avoid draining the precious stuff for heating purpose somehow.

Bill Howland
Well they’ve got their work cut out for them. I’m not sure if today’s cars already have slightly silvered windows to reflect most of the infrared sunlight, but if they don’t they can take a cue from the building industry who already uses such techniques. As far as the refrigeration systems themselves go, the semi-hermetic compressors used on hybrids and ev’s already have very high efficiencies. I’m impressed with both the VOLT and ELR – when in ECO mode, how much cooling they get for a mere 1000 watts of energy consumption. Obviously on a very hot day, the condensing pressure rises and there is nothing that can be done about it sans changing the refrigerant. Ammonia would be best but it is too dangerous to be used in a direct expansion system such as cars use. So, barring a new safe refrigerant, I wouldn’t at first blush expect any dramatic improvements. The GM ev’s for instance are already marvels of cooling efficiency. I was looking at a 2700 sq foot new build house over the weekend. The interesting thing about this house was the ‘geothermal’ waterfurnace brand heating and hot water system. It had eer’s of around 17 in… Read more »

And your conclusion is…?
Bill, you make a long run to show nothing.
Motor and inverter in EV have 90% efficiency.
So there’s about 19% loss in the traction chain. 95% of it is heat.
The problem is that EV haven’t been built yet differently then ICE as heating/cooling and insulation goes.
In ICE you have so much heat to disperse that if you take your house example, nobody needs any insulation or window since you’re sitting on a volcano.
Waste heat is a byproduct of ICE, not so much with EV.
BTW a/c in hybrid or EV or some high end ICE are efficient mostly because of inverter control compressor. Sealing help long lasting unit and avoid refrigerant leak.
I don’t have the specs of the A/C in my Leaf but the onboard display never show more than 300-500 watts of power, so 1 000 watts A/C look huge.

Bill Howland

My conclusion is you have to watch what people are saying, both for houses and EV’s.

You ramble on in your posts about generalities, whereas I mention specifics. People are welcome to second guess my numbers all they want. I’m getting them usually from the manufacturer’s website, or just conversance with the topic. I’m allowed occasionally to flesh out an idea.


I think a variation on radiant cooling might work really well. When the car is moving you could use that as a heat sink.


I am not sure if using liquid to heat the seats would be more efficient than the current method.

Anthony Fiti

I’ve been following a company called Coolerado (http://www.coolerado.com) that has a very energy efficient way to cool, but it requires water. So now you have to carry around water and replenish it to keep the A/C working.


What aboutintegrating a thermo acoustic airco in the car. That would be cool since it could work as a rex as well.