Extending the range of electric cars requires a whole vehicle approach to systems engineering to improve efficiency. This includes any heating or cooling systems, so Spanish automotive interior technology company Grupo Antolin has been actively developing efficient alternatives to traditional heating methods.
After exploring numerous and varied technological alternatives, Grupo Antolin says it turned its focus to using heated surfaces that provide thermal comfort via infrared radiation. Any surface at a high temperature emits radiation in the infrared spectrum, which can be used for the targeted heating of passengers at a given distance.
Grupo Antolin’s research has enabled the company to employ the appropriate technologies to apply this principle to the complicated task of providing passengers with personalized and focused heating, without wasting energy by heating all the air inside the cabin.
Using its extensive knowledge about manufacturing automotive interiors, the company has integrated heating elements in the surfaces of the interior parts. By using simulation to model different interior environments and optimizing the management of the heating elements, it claims to have significantly increased the efficiency of the system in terms of energy and comfort.
This has allowed for an up to 70% reduction in energy consumption associated with passenger heating depending on the use case, providing users with better thermal comfort than traditional systems in less time. The approach can also be applied to traditional IC-powered vehicles to provide heating before the engine warms up.
Beyond the efficiency gains, the surface heating system also removes the traditional noise and airflow created by a blower-based HVAC apparatus.