EV range boost with fresh approach to thermal management

Electric vehicle range could increase by five per cent following a project at Ricardo to optimise in-car thermal and energy management systems.

Thermal management

Partnering with Jaguar Land Rover and using a Jaguar I-PACE as a demonstrator vehicle, Ricardo said its engineers will look holistically at whole vehicle thermal management system and use digital modelling techniques to optimise thermal and control systems.

The research will optimise energy consumption and driver/passenger comfort, with the aim of increasing electric vehicle range by five per cent while reducing overall cost by 10 per cent. The project has been funded by the Office for Zero Emissions Vehicles (OZEV) in partnership with Innovate UK.

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In a statement, Teri Hawksworth, president, Ricardo Automotive and Industrial EMEA said: “The UK government has committed to banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030. There is a real need for innovative technology solutions which will drive cost out of electrification and enhance electric vehicle performance, efficiency, safety and cost, to encourage consumer take-up.

“Leveraging Ricardo’s proven track record in electrification engineering and green mobility solutions, we are very pleased to have received the funding, which will enable us to support the mass adoption of electrification by making it more affordable and help the UK reach its ambitious net zero goals.”

Currently, when drivers turn up the heat in their car in winter or use air conditioning in the summer, electrical energy consumption increases, reducing the range of an electric vehicle by almost one third. To reduce thermal system energy consumption, individual technologies have been proposed, but they do not account for the rest of the vehicle systems to take advantage of them.

Now, a team at Ricardo will take a system level methodology and apply advanced control approaches which automatically establish the best way of integrating new components and thermal system architectures into electric vehicles.

Additionally, the project will seek to improve range by reducing energy consumption, product development time and costs through a predictive thermal management system using an electronic horizon. Ricardo added it will also optimise driver/passenger comfort using a ‘comfort controller’, an approach to the in-car passenger experience that regulates heat sources to achieve a comfort level instead of a specified temperature.