Maxitherm to reduce energy consumption of heating by 30%?

Before electric cars, efficient heating never bothered car manufacturers as the waste heat of the internal combustion engine provides plenty of heat that can be used during the winter to warm up the cabin.

In the case of EVs, heating requires the vehicle to consume additional energy the from traction battery, which in turn decreases range significantly - as the battery capacity is usually not that high and heating takes a lot of energy (up to several kW). One hour of heating can reduce the state of charge by several kWh on top of what the car needs for driving.

Because of that, heated seats, steering wheel and heat pumps, as well as preheating before driving, become favorable options.

But that does not exhaust all possibilities. Under the European Union-funded Maxitherm project in Germany, an alternative heating system is under development.

The idea is to place additional electric heating elements under a vehicle’s roof and carpets, into the seats and seat backs and along the door panels. In effect, 30% less energy could be consumed to maintain passenger comfort. Who knows, maybe it will be good enough to skip the heat pump altogether.

Rafik Maxi, the project’s technical manager explains:

“The MAXITHERM heating system integrates a technical fabric comprised of both electrically conductive and non-electrically conductive fibres directly into the vehicle’s structure. The system provides direct and fast heat to passengers and is more cost-efficient than any solution available on the market today.”

Here is more on the project:

MAXITHERM heating mats utilise MaxiTex, a patented heating system owned by one of the project’s partners. MaxiTex consists of a special control system and a textile capable of dissipating heat homogeneously over an entire surface. The MAXITHERM mats are placed under a vehicle’s roof and carpets, into the seats and seat backs and along the door panels.

“With this system, it is possible to control the heating intensity and the maximum temperature independently,” says Rafik. “The temperature threshold can be set up for each area of the vehicle separately, providing you with maximum flexibility in terms of setting temperature preferences for each occupant.”

An attractive solution

Ute notes that the prototype vehicle has proved successful, offering high-efficiency and low energy consumption. “We are now monitoring its behaviour under real driving conditions, and this autumn and winter we will be able to measure real values in Germany’s harsh weather conditions,” she says.

The project is currently working with a number of automotive manufacturers who are interested in installing the system (or parts of it) into their vehicles. The team is also seeking additional funding to support further upscaling and marketing of the MAXITHERM system.

“To a critical extent, we successfully developed a system that could serve as a solution for driving electric cars – or any other means of electric transportation – in cold weather without losing range,” concludes Rafik. “As our solution helps EVs overcome the issue of limited range, MAXITHERM is attracting the attention of some global players in the automotive industry.”

Source: MAXITHERM — Result In Brief