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DENSO’s new e-compressor making world debut on Ford’s electrified vehicles

The integrated inverter in the current DENSO e-compressor is stacked above the motor. The new e-compressor debuting on the Ford vehicles improves the packaging by moving the inverter in-line with the motor. Click to enlarge.

DENSO’s new inline electric compressor will make its global debut on Ford Motor Company’s Focus Electric, which began production this past December, with retail production ramping up the first half of the year. The inline e-compressor will also appear on the Fusion and C-MAX Hybrids and Energi Plug-in Hybrids, going on sale in North America this year.

DENSO introduced electric compressors for hybrid electric vehicles in 2003. In 2005, DENSO introduced an electric compressor, jointly developed with Toyota Industries Corporation, that incorporated an inverter to drive the built-in motor. This structure reduced the compressor size by approximately 60% compared with a conventional electric compressor and inverter (when they are assumed to provide the same output). DENSO miniaturized the inverter by using simplified circuits and a higher-density mounting with three-dimensional wirings.

The inverter for a conventional compressor is cooled by the engine’s coolant system. To be able to integrate the electric compressor and inverter, DENSO developed a new cooling method using air conditioning refrigerant in the compressor. DENSO’s segment conductor wiring method, which was developed for alternators in 2000, also reduced the size of the built-in motor.

The current e-compressor with the integrated inverter stacked above the motor. The new e-compressor places the inverter in-line with the motor. Click to enlarge.

DENSO’s newest inline e-compressor is smaller, lighter and quieter than previous generations. DENSO improved the packaging—allowing for easier under-the-hood component packaging—by repositioning the e-compressor’s integrated inverter in-line with the motor as opposed to the current integrated inverter that is stacked above the motor.

Despite the decrease in weight and size, the inline e-compressor maintains the same cooling capacity as the previous generation while consuming less power. This helps extend the lithium-ion battery range when the air-conditioning (A/C) is running. Also, for hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV), the e-compressor helps make the car less reliant on the internal combustion engine when running A/C.

Not only does the inline e-compressor keep the cabin cool, it also can cool the lithium-ion battery to help it maintain an optimal temperature, improving the battery’s range and overall longevity.

Conventional compressors are powered by an engine’s belt drive, but EVs don’t have belt-driven engines that energize the peripheral systems (Hence, the move to an electric-driven compressor). This electrified compressor has its own motor, inverter and circuit board.



This is a step forward quieter, more efficient, lighter, lower cost, longer lasting Air Con for ALL vehicles. Another advantage is that it can run with the ICE off. A remote control from a smart phone can to a good job.

Dave R

I've always wondered - how does the efficiency of this compressor as used in the latest generation of hybrids/EVs compare to the efficiency of your typical central air or mini-split system?

At the very least, these scroll-type compressors are a LOT quieter.


I doubt is as efficient.. but what they need to implement for BEVs is a reversing heat pump for cold weather areas, should not be too hard to do.


I believe the scroll compressors are more efficient because of reduced heat flow from hot sections to incoming refrigerant (pure entropy loss).

A further advantage beyond size and efficiency is that the electric compressor requires no mechanical connection to the engine, therefore it does not move with the engine. The result is that the flexible lines can be replaced with metal tubing, eliminating the other major route for refrigerant leakage (the first being the compressor shaft seal).

Stan Peterson

I wonder what happens if teh refrigerant leaks out. The compressor would work harder witht less refrigerant and might burn itself uo with some severe degree of reduced coolant if it is depend on the A/C itself to cool it bearings, windings and electronics.


SP... that applies all A/C ?


Stas, they may have to spend the money and include some temperature sensors to prevent damage.


If you lose too much refrigerant, the oil won't be returned to the compressor and it'll die regardless of what type it is.

Stan Peterson

While criticizing some aspect of this particular Denso design, I fully support the electrification of the HVAC compressor. It removes another parasitic load on the ICE, provides an alternative for hybrids, PHEVS, EREVs, and pure BEVs.

The larger the base and number manufactured, the lower the unit cost, assisting in reducing the price differential between ICEe and partial or full electrification alternatives for ground transport.

In addition providing a fully tailored electrical motive system should allow for implementing efficiencies in the pure thermodynamics of the A/C cycling, thereby increasing the overall efficiency of such devices.

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