In extreme temperatures, cabin cooling and heating eat up significant amounts of power from an EV’s battery. As a result, there are many gains to be made in terms of boosting driving range by making heating/cooling systems more efficient.
That’s where Japanese top air conditioner maker Daikin Industries comes in, as the company claims it has developed a refrigerant for EVs that can extend their range by up to 50%, with the product scheduled to go on sale by 2025.
It is obviously great news and, as the report from Nikkei Asia reveals, Daikin’s new refrigerant has a boiling point of about minus 40 C, which is 10 to 15 degrees lower than the product currently used by EV makers worldwide.
Since air conditioners use the heat generated by compressing the refrigerant to heat and cool the air inside the car, the new product reduces the power required for compression, freeing up more electricity for the vehicle to cover a longer distance on a full charge.
Gallery: NAF Range Test
To be more specific, Daikin claims that in an EV with a range of 200 km (124 miles) on a full charge operating in an urban area of Japan with the air conditioner running, the new refrigerant could unlock an additional 100 km (62 miles) of range.
The Japanese company says it will “consider the price of the new refrigerant while looking at market prices,” according to the same report. Currently, the most common refrigerant for use in EV air conditioners, a product jointly developed by U.S. companies Honeywell and Chemours, costs around 30,000 yen ($270) per vehicle. Since the alternative to increase battery capacity to extend range by 100 km is much more expensive, automakers are likely to pay twice the current price for the new refrigerant without blinking.
Daikin has already developed the product, and U.S. industry group SAE International will verify its performance and safety under operating conditions. Interestingly, Daikin is not currently involved in the automotive market, despite being the world’s largest air conditioner manufacturer by sales and the leading producer of refrigerant. That will obviously change as Daikin will enter the market with its new EV air conditioner refrigerant by 2025.
By that year, global EV production is estimated to rise to 11.84 million units, 5.3 times higher than in 2020, according to IHS Markit.
More about the impact of HVAC systems on EV range