The heating and cooling systems are an important issue in the development of fully electric vehicles (FEVs). On the contrary to vehicles with thermal engines, in FEVs there is almost no waste heat available for the heating of the cabin or for the window de-icing and defogging. The cooling of the cabin also demands a large amount of energy. Due to the high power consumption, the heating and cooling of FEVs is a compromise between thermal comfort and vehicle range. The aim of this work is to present the European project ICE (2010-2014)  which focuses on the development of an efficient air-conditioning and heating system based on a magneto-caloric heat pump and on a new system architecture to fulfill the thermal comfort requirements of an electric minibus. The system will be installed and demonstrated in a Daily Electric Mini-bus from IVECO-ALTRA.
Air-conditioning (AC) is an important sub-system in electric vehicles (EVs). AC is responsible for the highest energy consumption among all the auxiliary systems. As the energy is delivered by the batteries, the power consumption for air-conditioning can imply a significant reduction of the vehicle autonomy. Given the actual state of the art and the temperature and power requirements, electrically driven compressors are the most feasible solution. However, vapour-compression systems are reaching their maximum efficiency. Using innovative technologies can improve the performance of standard systems and hereby increase the vehicle autonomy. This paper presents the first steps in the design of a magnetocaloric air-conditioner for an electric minibus. The system will include two reversible magnetocaloric heat pumps, one in the front part of a minibus and one on the rear. The heat rejection system of the power electronics will be coupled to the air-conditioning system.
Among all the auxiliary components in conventional and electric vehicles, air-conditioning (AC) systems present the highest energy consumption. In fully electrical vehicles (FEVs), the heating of the cabin becomes an additional challenge as there is less waste heat available. Therefore, a careful design of the air-conditioning system and of the operation strategies is necessary to reach a reasonable FEV autonomy without compromising the thermal comfort. This paper presents a tool for the design, analysis and optimization of an efficient air-conditioning system for an electric minibus. It consists of dynamic models of each component of the system that have been developed and fully validated individually. Finally, they have been coupled together to simulate the overall vehicle performance of the vehicle in MATLAB-SIMULINK. The core of the system is a water-to-water reversible heat pump with a variable speed compressor.