Jaguar Land Rover investigating energy-efficient vehicle heating and cooling; Air Bubbles and Air Blankets
Because heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC) consume substantial amounts of energy—and therefore fuel, or electrical energy stored in the battery of a Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV)—Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is working on research projects that could significantly reduce the energy consumed when heating and cooling a vehicle.
Rather than continuously heating or cooling a flow of air as it enters the car, Jaguar Land Rover is exploring how a car could heat or cool an “Air Bubble” inside the vehicle once, and then maintain the temperature and quality of this air bubble using innovative new HVAC technologies. These include infra-red reflective (IRR) glass, tailor-made for the solar radiation profile of an individual region or country. The glass would reflect the sun’s rays so less energy is required to cool the inside of the car.
Today’s HVAC systems can draw 8-10 kW from an electric vehicle battery, enough to reduce the range by up to 40%, while air conditioning can reduce the range of an internal combustion engine by up to 20%. So to improve the fuel economy and emissions of internal combustion engines and to enhance the range of a future BEV, we have been rethinking the thermal management of a vehicle cabin. We are developing new methods of heating and cooling the cabin, to achieve substantial reductions in energy consumption.—Dr. Wolfgang Epple, Director of Research and Technology, Jaguar Land Rover
To maintain the breathable quality of the warmed or cooled bubble of air, cabin air would be passed through a special filter in the vehicle trunk. This filter would remove CO2, moisture and particulates from the cabin air and provide better air quality inside the vehicle than out.
Warm Air Blanket. In the future it may also not even be necessary to heat or cool the volume of air inside the car. Instead the car could directly heat or cool the occupants with warm or cold air flowing through porous surfaces in the seats. Infra-red panels, invisibly embedded inside sun visors, door tops, the glove box door and the sides of the transmission tunnel would surround each occupant and would radiate heat to the body. This “Warm Air Blanket” would cocoon individual occupants in their own microclimate, and warm just the occupant’s skin rather than maintaining the entire cabin at a given temperature.
Because the panels heat up quickly and efficiently, and because the sensation of feeling warm is almost immediate, energy consumption could be dramatically reduced. By combining these techniques, early test results show it is possible to reduce the consumption of an HVAC system by half, from 8-12 kW, to 4-6 kW.