Rheinmetall Automotive has developed a heat pump that significantly reduces energy consumption when heating or cooling electrically operated vehicles. Current road trials take into account all the heat generated during driving to enable the components to be set to the best-possible operating temperature.
The heat pump is intended as a key component of the air-conditioning system. Existing assemblies such as the drive motor and generator are integrated as heat sources into the vehicle's heat management system. The reproducible measurements obtained from the test series on an electrically powered small-car prototype under defined driving and ambient conditions complement previous test results. When combined with smart controls for the heat management system, the heat pump helps to extend the vehicle's mileage range without any compromise in driver or passenger comfort. Until now, the vehicles had used electric heaters, which correspondingly shortened the mileage range and operating cycles.
Apart from maximum energy efficiency, the heat pump offers other advantages as well. The compact module is ready-to-operate and can be installed where most convenient in the vehicle. To integrate it with the vehicle's HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) system, the customer simply connects the four supply lines of the secondary circuit and power supply. Installation times are therefore shorter. With the Rheinmetall Automotive plug-and-play heat pump it is also possible to carry out the necessary leakage tests on the refrigerant lines, add the refrigerant, and start up the system outside of the vehicle.
As the almost completely hermetic refrigerant circuit is designed with a minimum of connecting elements and the compact design reduces the required refrigerant volume, the pump also achieves a significant decrease in refrigerant losses and therefore plays a part in curbing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.