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US$7.5M JOSPEL project to develop energy efficient climate control for EVs; leveraging Joule and Peltier effects

A trans-European collaboration aims to develop a novel energy efficient climate control system to help reduce the energy used for passenger comfort in electric vehicles by at least 50%. Even in today’s modern electric vehicles, a lot of energy is wasted on heating or cooling, in turn limiting the already relatively short range by further draining the battery capacity.

The aim of the €6.7-million (US$7.5-million) JOSPEL project is to develop an efficient, electrical climate control system using an integrated approach that combines the application of the Joule and Peltier effects; efficient insulation of the vehicle interior; energy recovery from heat zones; increased battery life as a side effect of thermal management; reduced battery energy consumption via the integration of Peltier cooling; innovative automated and eco-driving strategies; and the electronic control of power flows.

Joule heating refers to the conversion of the energy of an electric current into heat as it flows through a resistance; when current flows through a solid or liquid with finite conductivity, electric energy is converted to heat through resistive losses in the material. The Peltier effect is the presence of heating or cooling at an electrified junction of two different conductors.

The main objective is the reduction of at least 50% of energy used for passenger comfort (<1,250 W) and at least 30% for component cooling in extreme conditions with reference to electric vehicles currently on the market.

Besides improving on the heating/cooling technology through thermoelectric technology and effects, JOSPEL will also enhance the energy and battery efficiency through various other solutions, such as improving on the insulation via new glazing designs, reducing the energy needed to defrost and so on.

Industry and research partners from the involved companies and organisations in Spain, Croatia, Italy, United Kingdom, Luxembourg, France, Portugal, Denmark and Germany recently met in Valencia to align expectations and aims of the project.

The JOSPEL project is ambitious in size and scope, and we believe to be able to reduce not only the energy used for passenger comfort heating with at least 50%, but also to reduce the energy used for component cooling in extreme conditions with at least 30%. Both objectives will help make the electric vehicles much more energy efficient and marketable.

—Cristina Abad, AIMPLAS, project coordinator

The JOSPEL project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under Grant Agreement Nº 653851.



Improved HVAC and ultra light efficient insulation, for all types of passenger vehicles, is overdue. EVs will benefit the most by getting improved extended range without adding costly batteries.


They should use a small diesel heater for colder climes.
While propulsion by diesel is only 35-40% efficient, heating by diesel could be closer to 90% efficient.

It seems a shame to use such a refined form of energy as battery stored electricity just to heat people in a car.

I'm all for insulation etc. and fancy heat pumps etc for cooling, but you could use a simple diesel heater to heat the car.
+ things like heated seats (driver at least) and steering wheel !
The problem is that as you add sophistication, you add cost and more points for failure.
+ electric preheat if plugged in (no problem using mains electricity to heat a car [imo]), it's the batteries you have to save.


I know a couple of DYI EV converters and their take on driving in the winter is simple: "Heat the driver, not the space he sits in."


I don't think heating with electricity will be a problem as battery, HVAC and insulation tech advances.

Burning hydrocarbons for heat should be avoided except in extreme cold climates. I would hate to see millions of cars with diesel heaters when one reason for EVs is to stop burning hydrocarbons in the atmosphere.


You would be better off burning diesel directly in the car for heat than generating electricity in a power station with fossil fuel.
The efficiency of a power station is about 35%, then you have transmission and charging loses, compared to a 90% efficient diesel heater.
If you get your power from nuclear or hydro, the equation swings back in favour of the electric heating, but you still have to store the power in your battery and reduce the range.
Heating seats directly, though is still a good idea.
Maybe you could have heated pedals in the car to warm your feet(!) - I feel a patent coming on...


Since we have cold long winters and a huge surplus of clean low cost electricity (95% Hydro and 5% Wind) at least till 2027/2029 and a lot more (about 125,000 megawatt) can be installed and no (not yet) Oil, I have to agree with Lad that improved electric HVAC + improved insulation would be the best solution (at least for us).

Cleaner bio-fuels may be an alternative to fossil diesel oil?


If you are carrying fuel for heat, you should be co-generating power with it or you are throwing a huge amount of available energy away.  Burning diesel, gasoline or propane in an open flame for heat in a vehicle is entropically insane; put it through an engine!  You can reclaim heat from the engine and exhaust, and get power besides.


@EP, the idea is to avoid the cost, weight and expense of having an engine and to keep it simple. You already have an electric motor to drive the vehicle.
All you want is 1-5Kw to heat the people inside rather than using electric heating.
If you want to talk about a range extender, that is another matter altogether. I find it hard to know why we don;t have a simple 25kw generator that can be used to power an EV when the battery runs down. It doesn't have to be THAT efficient as it won't be used very much, and it can have a limited speed and torque range.
The one on the I3 seems a bit puny and only has 72 miles of range (!) and makes a nasty sound when running, but they basically used a 650cc motorbike engine, which might explain why it is a bit nasty.


Range takes a major hit when the battery is cold.  If I convert 5.5 kW of fuel into 5 kW of heat + 10% losses, I get 5 kW of heat (and maybe some extra range if I warm up the battery); if I convert 8.3 kW of fuel into 5 kW of heat, 2.5 kW of power and 10% losses, I get a much greater range boost for a small increment in fuel consumption.

My Fusion loses close to half of its EV range at 20°F compared to 75°F.  Pushing 2.5 kW into the battery, plus heating the battery with waste heat, would fully restore that with some extra.  It's win-win.  Yes, it would be slightly more complex.  This is the price we pay for optimizing.


@EP, if i follow you correctly, you suggest that we preheat the battery to improve its capacity. It strikes me you could do this by burning diesel directly in the same way as heating the interior of the car, with a simple heater (or better still a plug in heater, used while charging).

In that respect, we are saying the same thing. My point is to use diesel to heat things (people, battery) and use electricity to turn the wheels, run the radio, lights, etc.


No, we are not saying the same thing.

First, the devil is in the details.  The optimal strategy changes considerably if the vehicle AER is less than or greater than the trip length.  It gets even more complicated if you allow the battery size to be optimized based on keeping it at its best operating temperature vs. winter ambient.  Warming the battery increases the AER, pushing the strategy toward the "no fuel required" case.

Second, diesel fuel is a highly processed product and doesn't even burn that cleanly.  The best fuel for pure heat would be LPG or CNG.

Last, let's consider an analysis of a winter trip in excess of the AER of a PHEV.  I can eke out 18 miles when the battery gauge claims 14 miles available due to cold temperature (driving slowly).  Pre-heating the battery to summer temps would bring that up to 25 miles.  Suppose I need to go 30 miles; I simply couldn't do that with your heat-only scheme.  In mine, I heat the cabin and battery with my 5 kW of heat, and apply 2.5 kW of shaft power to motion.  In the 45 minutes or so required to drive 30 miles in suburban conditions (some lower speeds and traffic lights), I'd get ~1.9 kWh of work out of the engine, roughly enough to add 6 miles to my range.  That gets me 31 miles.

If the engine burns fuel at 8.33 kW for 45 minutes, that's 6.25 kWh of fuel or a tad under 1/5 of a gallon of gasoline.  Burning that over 30 miles achieves in excess of 150 MPG, which is not bad in the least.

You could accomplish this your way, but you'd require a larger and more expensive battery to get the range and save only 1/3 of the fuel.  I don't think that is a good tradeoff.

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