Heating an electric car with a biofuel operated heater during cold seasons – design, application and test

Christian Riess, Michael Simon Josef Walter, Stefan Weiherer, Tiffany Haas, Sebastian Haas, Alexandru Salceanu


The automotive industry is currently undergoing far-reaching structural changes. Automobile manufacturers are pursuing intensive scientific research and technological development in the field of alternative drive systems, such as electric powertrains. If electric car batteries are charged with regenerative generated electricity, their emission output is zero (from a well-to-wheel view). Furthermore, electric drives have very high efficiency. At cold temperatures, however, the battery power drops due to energy-intensive loads, such as the heating of the passenger compartment, and this consequently reduces the range dramatically. Therefore, the focus of this research work is external energy supply for the required heat capacity. The auxiliary energy may be generated by renewable energy technologies in order to further improve the CO2 balance of electric vehicles. The paper deals with the design, application, and testing of a biofuel-operated heater to heat the passenger compartment of a battery-powered electric car (a Renault ZOE R240). The practical use of the heating system is analyzed in several test drives, performed during winter 2018. The results as well as the range extension of the electric car that can be achieved by substituting the on-board heating system by the fuel-operated heater are quantified herein.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21014/acta_imeko.v7i4.578