Continental is already
supplying energy-efficient pumps and also sensors of the type required for TM.
These are complemented by new Coolant Flow Control Valves (CFCV) that serve to
flexibly switch heating and coolant circuits. Finally, the portfolio includes
lines and hoses which can provide an integrated sensor function (Smart Rubber).
In connection with new control principles, the products of the flexible and
modular TM construction design make it possible to increase an electric
vehicle’s range in the winter season: While the range of a current electric
vehicle may drop by up to 40 % at -10 °C when compared to the range at 20…25 °C,
the Continental TM can improve the range under the same -10 °C conditions by
around 25 %.
The Continental Thermal
Management is based on a flexible and modular set of components, which allow to
design economic solutions for different electrified vehicles “, said Klaus Hau,
Head of Sensors & Actuators business unit, Continental Powertrain division.
“The substantial range increase of electric vehicles and the faster charging
are particularly attractive features. Continental’s global presence, innovation
and focus on quality in a competitive market place make us an ideal partner for
an automotive manufacturer´s thermal management systems,” Hau added.
More Range for Electric Vehicles
Thermal Management is a
genuinely forward-looking technology as it is not bound to a specific type of
drivetrain“, says Peter Biber, Head of Continental China Powertrain Sensors
& Actuators (S&A). “TM will make a contribution to vehicle efficiency
with both,combustion engine and electric vehicles“. While thermal management
will help to minimize the fuel consumption and emissions of a combustion engine
as well hybrid vehicles, the focus in a pure electric vehicle is on range.
During winter and midsummer – when there is a high demand for heating or
cooling – the range of an electrified vehicle is considerably lower because the
electric energy for heating or cooling is taken from the Li-Ion battery as
well. For instance, at -10 °C up to 30 % of the stored electric energy are
needed for heating purposes. Thermal Management serves to facilitate as much
heating and cooling as possible without draining the battery. „If I have to
recharge less frequently and to a lesser degree this will increase the service
life of my battery“, Biber adds.
Ensuring Battery “Wellness” and Faster Charging
Continental is developing
innovative components for new use cases such as batterypre- conditioning. A
Li-Ion battery should be in a 25…35 °C temperature span to either receive
strong currents (e.g. during fast charging and regenerative braking) or to
deliver high currents (during sporty driving). At very low or high
temperatures, however, a battery can neither take a lot of recuperated energy
nor can it deliver much power. The TM components provide the technical
infrastructure to initially heat up the battery and other components of the
electric drivetrain and then to switch to cooling at a certain point. During
charging, for instance, active cooling of the battery prevents a de-rating of
the charge current because the battery temperature is controlled. “This requires
flexible switching of coolant circuits and extremely durable, silent and
energy-saving pumps and multi-port valves,” Biber explains. “Our new Coolant
Flow Control Valves can switch the flow proportionally between two to four
coolant circuits. This brings available heat or cold to places where they are
needed,” he says
The Continental Coolant Flow
Control Valves (CFCVs) are fully integrated with rotary actuators that provide
intelligent positioning of the valve in response to the needs of the vehicle.
The actuator uses a compact, brushless motor to provide long lifetime actuation
and minimum energy consumption. This unique integrated solution from
Continental ensures quality and reliability without sacrificing flexibility.
The CFCV’s lightweight design supports customers’ weight reduction efforts, and
the small package size opens up new opportunities for placement in the vehicle.
“With the Coolant Flow Control Valve product family, Continental offers a full
range of solutions for thermal management that increase the efficiency and
range of vehicles while improving comfort”, Biber says.
As TM is more complex in an
electric vehicle than in a conventional car, the technology company Continental
utilizes comprehensive cross-divisional know-how: The modular product portfolio
encompasses sensors, innovative actuator modules (BLDC-driven pumps,
hydraulics, valves), the required innovative lines and hoses (including sealing
solutions; Smart Rubber with integrated sensor function) plus new control
concepts for operating conditions during which TM can boost vehicle efficiency.