What is climate control? Did you know the automotive climate control system is ranked ahead of anti-lock braking systems (ABS), aerodynamics and diesel engines as the most innovative technology in automotive history*? * By Channel 4, a British public-service television broadcaster
Automotive climate control by definition refers to the car’s integrated heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. Other manufacturers’ names for this include climatronic or intelligent air conditioning. As implied by the name, “automotive climate control” is the technology that creates ambient comfort within the vehicle.
Initially achieved through the use of ice plates, air conditioning went electric in 1902 thanks to the work of the American engineer, Willis Carrier. This paved the way for GM’s Cadillac division to introduce the first built-in air conditioner in 1939, and for Chrysler to introduce the first trunk-mounted system in 1953, using a refrigerant known as R22.
Today, suppliers of automotive climate control technologies are constantly challenged in three core areas: increasing environmental pressures, changing market/industry needs and rising customer/consumer expectations. Accordingly, priorities have grown to encompass not only the technology itself, but also passenger comfort, eco-friendliness and fuel efficiency – the key drivers of Hanon Systems's research and development activities.

Comfort Eco-friendly Fuel efficiency

What is Climate Control?

What is in the system?

There are five components that comprise an automotive climate control system – evaporator, compressor, condenser, receiver, Fluid Transport and then expansion device.
  • Condenser
  • Receiver
  • Evaporator
  • Expansion device
  • Compressor
  • Fluid Transport

What are the main roles that climate control play?

What are the key roles that climate control plays?

Provides fresh air from outside the vehicle into the cabin

“Re-circulation” function which takes in cabin air and sends it through the HVAC back into the cabin

  • Purifies polluted air or removes unpleasant odors
  • Reduces “time-to-comfort”
  • Improves efficiency/ reduces system energy consumption

Heats the air with a heater core or another heating device

Cools the air with an evaporator and a refrigerant buffer

De-humidifies the air by first cooling it and then re-heating it to the desired comfort temperature

How does Climate Control work?

How does Climate Control work?

The primary goal of an automotive climate control system is to provide passenger  comfort in as quick a time as possible. Because heat flows in one direction only, from areas of high temperature to low temperature, the climate system must create a flow by cooling the air below the ambient air temperature. This is done with a “vapor compression system” – the same principle used in domestic refrigerators – which cools the air entering the cabin.
What is Powertrain Cooling?

What is powertrain cooling?

Powertrain cooling was initially designed to prevent engine damage due to overheating. To prevent overheating of the internal combustion engine (ICE) a coolant is circulated, taking the heat at the engine and rejecting it at the radiator to the ambient air. Other devices/ fluids of the powertrain which need cooling may reject the excess heat directly to the ambient air, or also into the hot engine coolant, or into a “low temperature” coolant circuit. This hot coolant flows also through the heater core of the HVAC module, rejects heat to the cabin air, thus warming it up.

How does Powertrain Cooling relate to Climate Control?

The “touchpoints” between powertrain cooling and climate control are growing in number as the two become increasingly complex and broad in their offering. This linkage is driven by increased comfort requirements, and new powertrain architectures to meet enhanced efficiency and emission targets.
What is the Thermal Management System?

What is the Thermal Management System?

A thermal management system is a comprehensive terminology that best describes Hanon Systems's unique capability in automotive climate control solutions. In principle, the two core components – climate control and powertrain cooling – shape the thermal management system.
Why does an electric vehicle require thermal management?

Why does an electric vehicle require thermal Management?

It is well understood that electricity has the ability to increase an object’s temperature and the electric motor in an electric vehicle is no exception. Electric motors also contain a series of magnets which lose effectiveness and strength with increases in temperature. A system is therefore needed to prevent the motor from overheating. Thermal management provides such a system.

One method through which an engine can understand that it’s getting close to overheating involves lithium ion batteries. As their name suggests, these are batteries that are charged and discharged by the movement of lithium ions through an electrolyte. If the temperature moves out of the optimum working range, the conductivity of the electrolyte decreases, indicating that the engine needs to be cooled down.

How is the electric vehicle heating the cabin area?

Although they radiate less heat than a combustion engine, the electric motor, invertor and battery found in electric vehicles still require cooling and heating solutions. As the electric vehicle lacks the heat input provided when a combustion engine starts, the PTC heater (Positive temperature coefficient), heat pump and electric heater are key innovations providing such solutions. For example, Hanon Systems's heat pump system utilizes an outside condenser and chiller to gain heat from ambient air and recover waste electric heat.
Modern Thermal Management Systems

How can I learn more about Hanon Systems’s product offering?

Air Conditioning System (=A/C System = Climate control):
Modern climate control systems offer additional features for enhanced occupant comfort
Multi-zone HVAC system - allowing up to four individual temperature zones in a vehicle
Auxilliary HVAC module - a second unit to provide better comfort for rear occupants, especially in large vehicle cabins such as vans or SUVs
Heat pump system - a very energy-efficient way to provide heating from a modified refrigerant system, already used for electric vehicles
Cabin air quality features - better filteration, ionization, fragrancing of cabin air for enhanced health and well-being
ICE Thermal Management
Enables an optimum operating temperature for the cooling of additional devices by using:
Automatic transmission oil
Engine oil of high performance motors
Exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) cooler for better exhaust emissions
Charge air cooler (air- or water-cooler designs), etc
Electrified Vehicle Thermal
Powertrains of full electric and hybrid electric vehicles pose modified and new requirements:
A low-temperature coolant circuit for the electric motor and inverter
Active cooling of the lithium batteris
A heat pump system for cabin heating