Delphi's New Air Conditioning System Will Increase EV/HEV Range While Cutting CO2 Emissions
Innovative new technology keeps occupants comfortable
using less energy
Release Date: April 25, 2012
DETROIT Delphi Automotive (NYSE: DLPH) is developing an advanced HVAC (heating, ventilating, air conditioning) system that dramatically increases efficiency and reduces emissions while keeping passengers comfortable.
The Unitary Heat Pump Air Conditioner (HPAC) integrates a refrigerant heat pump and coolant distribution system to provide vehicle cabin comfort. In addition to drawing heat from the ambient air, this system can also scavenge available waste heat and provide this heat to the cabin. While suitable for all vehicle types including heavy duty commercials, it will bring particularly significant benefits to hybrid and electric vehicles by reducing battery drain so that range can be increased.
Currently, most vehicles use waste heat to warm the cabin. Hybrid and electric vehicles (xEV) rely on electric elements to provide much of the heat needed to keep the occupants comfortable. These elements draw energy from the battery, which significantly reduces electric drive range. Delphi's HPAC minimizes this draw by recovering heat from the electric motors, batteries and power electronics. Since the system also has an air conditioning capability, one single, compact unit can efficiently heat and cool the cabin as required.
In ambient conditions below 0°C, vehicles that generate little combustion heat, such as hybrids, rely on Positive Temperature Coefficient (PTC) heaters to provide adequate cabin heating and demisting.
"Fitting Delphi’s Unitary HPAC to such a vehicle could significantly reduce the energy needed for heating in very cold conditions,” said James Bertrand, president, Delphi Thermal Systems. “Testing has shown that the reduced energy draw from the battery pack could increase the electric drive range by up to 10 percent at low-mid ambient temperatures."
Rig tests on a plug-in hybrid vehicle system have also demonstrated a reduction in CO2 emissions equivalent to 3.8 grams per mile. The system is also constructed without rubber A/C hoses, reducing emissions of the refrigerant by up to 50 percent.
The high efficiency of the system allows it to be extremely compact. It is also suited to a range of refrigerants, providing flexibility in refrigerant cost and supply. Because the refrigerant circuit is contained entirely within the engine compartment, the refrigerant choice is also less compromised by flammability constraints.
Additionally, Delphi's HPAC requires only half the refrigerant volume of a conventional system and can be shipped and installed fully-charged.
"We see tremendous potential for this system, which breaks new ground to provide solutions the vehicle industry has been waiting for," said Bertrand. "Whether you measure benefits in CO2 reduction, range extension, cabin comfort or manufacturing simplicity, Delphi's HPAC will help keep passengers comfortable while reducing emissions and increasing efficiency."
The Delphi HPAC is expected to enter production for the 2015 model year.
Note: During the 2012 SAE World Congress, Delphi engineers will present a technology paper, entitled, Unitary HPAC System, on Thursday, April 26 at 9:20 a.m. in room O2-35/36.
Delphi Automotive PLC (NYSE: DLPH) is a leading global supplier of electronics and technologies for automotive, commercial vehicle and other market segments. Operating major technical centers, manufacturing sites and customer support facilities in 30 countries, Delphi delivers real-world innovations that make products smarter and safer as well as more powerful and efficient. Connect to innovation at www.delphi.com.