In pure electric vehicles, the energy for heating the passenger compartment has to be taken from energy sources other than the waste heat of the internal combustion engine. If this energy is taken from the drive battery, this results in a reduction in the range of up to 50 %. Other concepts of an additional heating require complex additional equipment and tanks, which increase the weight of the vehicle.
In the EKo-Lack project concepts for heating a test vehicle with infrared radiant heaters have been developed and studied.
The work included the positioning of the elements, the design of an optimal control strategy and the specification of the different components of the heating system. Both, feasibility studies as well as experiments which were intended to optimize the structure of the heating elements and to keep the heat loss through the back side of the plates as low as possible, were performed. Furthermore, simulation models have been developed and used to investigate the positioning of the elements in the vehicle and to optimize them.
The findings during the project show that the application of the developed heating system poses a significant potential for energy saving. A feasibility study was carried out with respect to design, layout and positioning of the possible heating panels. In order to keep the heat loss at the heating element’s backside as low as possible, further investigations about effective and lightweight insulation materials were carried out.
One potential solution regarding the comfort deficit and the drastic reduction in the range of electric vehicles using electric heating systems is the developed infrared radiant heaters for the passenger compartment. The system consists of the three main components heating application, wiring and control unit.
The results from the EKo-Lack project have shown that the use of infrared radiant heaters in vehicle cabs has a significantly higher efficiency and hence reduced energy consumption compared to conventional heating systems. This allows an energy saving of up to 20% compared to the conventional reference heating system.