The demand for electrified commercial vehicles and mobile machinery is gaining momentum due to several factors such as stricter emission regulation and rising climate change awareness. However, battery capacity constraints have so far prevented unconditional acceptance by customers.
One of the biggest challenges concerning electric vehicles is maintaining optimal thermal comfort inside the cabin without excessively reducing the driving range or operating time. A thermal management strategy based on model predictive control is a promising approach to improve energy efficiency.
As the cabin thermal environment is complex and continually varies during operation, a clear understanding of the heating and cooling loads is indispensable. The goal is to compensate for the continuous changes of cabin loads due to factors such as solar radiation, ambient air temperature and humidity or vehicle speed, all while maintaining the passenger comfort.
The Wölfle design is modular and model-based, combining existing onboard power system signals in a thermodynamic sensor model. Different vehicle types, comfort requirements or system components can be easily integrated and adapted, thus improving the efficiency of the climate system from the control strategy perspective.
Implementing an innovative heat pump system that uses ambient heat and waste heat from the components can further reduce the energy demand of the climate control system. Based on a comprehensive thermal management model, a compact water-to-water heat pump system can obtain heat from the ambient environment even at sub-zero temperatures, as well as excess heat dissipated from the battery and powertrain components, i.e. the inverter and electric motor. Hence, energy is transported to onboard heat sources and sinks in a well-designed, demand-oriented and efficient manner.
The system provides simultaneous cold and warm water coolant, thus ensuring optimal operating temperatures for each component and a comfortable cabin climate. The flexibility of the Wölfle heat pump creates an opportunity for new, innovative and complex thermal management solutions, with many operational modes available for consideration and exploration.
Comparable to the thermal requirements, the complexity of the electrical architectures is also growing. Both in the high-voltage and low-voltage range, power supply, safety requirements and system control are of increasing importance. One of Wölfle's additional core competences lies in the realization and physical implementation of electronic systems, always tailored individually to the respective vehicle type. As a full-service supplier, Wölfe offers housings, cabling, in-house software and electronics as a finished plug-and-play product.