Hybrid Car Air Conditioning ~ Hybrid Car Review
Hybrid Car Review: Hybrid Car Air Conditioning

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Hybrid Car Air Conditioning

In order to save gas, hybrid cars shut their engines off when idling, say at a red light or even when you start the car. It's not until you accelerate (or take your foot off the brake) when the gas engine turns on. Since the gas engine is off and given that conventional gas engines run the air conditioning compressor using a belt system and since AC is the second largest user of the car's energy, figuring out how to make the AC work was an important consideration for each carmaker.

Each automaker implemented its own system to deal with this issue. Toyota has removed the belt system all together, while Honda implemented a dual scroll system. Gm and Ford have also implemented dual ac compressors that are powered by either the gas or the electric engine.

Starting in 2005, Toyota started powering the ac compressor using the high voltage battery packs necessary for the electric engine of a hybrid car. This requires an electric motor with an integrated inverter and controls to drive the ac compressor. It has been integrated with a high voltage, 3-phase AC motor and control inverter.

Honda, because it has a parallel hybrid configuration, uses a lower voltage than Toyota. And so the high current draw of an air conditioner needed something different. They went on to develop a dual scroll ac compressor. Two compressors in one, it has a 75cc belt driven scroll compressor in the front and a smaller 15cc electric scroll compressor in the rear. The electric scroll has 3-phase high voltage electric motor for its drive. The ac compressor then draws its power from one or both of the scrolls, depending on the situation.

During idle stops, the electric compressor will run alone unless the charge is low or demand is too high. In that case, the gas engine will restart to power the belt drive compressor to assist or to completely take over.

GM also has a dual-mode air conditioning compressor. As part of the ParadiGM system, the compressor is mounted on and driven by the transaxle.

Ford hybrid vehicles run the air conditioning from the gas engine, which means the air conditioner doesn't always maintain a constant temperature. In high demand situations (really hot days) the gas engine will keep running for maximum cooling.

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anthony m, said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mike said...

I didn't mind you advertising your site once. But twice shows me it's nothing but spam.

Nats said...

I find your information useful. However, I am writing a paper for school, so I need your references. Is it possible to tell me where you found the images as well information on hybrid A/C systems. send the response to barnswell_nathaline@yahoo.com

Old Timer said...

How does the AC effect the mileage of the vehicles? What about heating in the northern climates?

Allen Davis

Mike said...

Negatively. It depends on the vehicle, but even in modern hybrids, the A/C has to pull power from somewhere. In today's hybrids, that means the battery pack. But if the A/C (or heater) is taking power from the battery pack, that means you have to recharge them sooner.

Hypermilers will tell you to turn off the A/C (or heater) and close the windows, or at least minimize their use. I agree to a certain point. If fuel economy is a primary concern, then turn them off. But in the end, it's only going to be a few percentage points from your fuel economy.

Auto A/C said...

It's important that drivers realize that they will have a difficult time matching the advertised fuel economy for these hybrids. Hard acceleration, cut-and-thrust driving and using the air conditioner take an even bigger toll on hybrids' mileage than they do in a regular car. Real-world economy could be as much as a third less; still, 40 mpg is pretty impressive.

Don't ignore the traditional risks behind any car purchase: You're responsible now for maintaining two power sources, not one. Hybrids have proved reliable so far -- these are Hondas and Toyotas, after all -- but their history is limited. Warranties on the hybrid-related systems are eight years, but replacing those systems after the warranty expires could cost thousands. (The battery pack in a Honda is estimated at $3,000.) And resale value is still a big question mark.

Mikes said...

Additionally, it should be noted that the cost of AC repair may not be as staggering as you might imagine it to be. In fact, there are numerous reputable companies and organizations that specialize in AC repair that actually offer very affordable pricing.

air conditioners

Hvac colardo said...

Hybrid Cars offer an innovative, efficient, and affordable option.Hybrid cars have become a practical choice for consumers.
An air conditioning controller for a hybrid car, which is provided in the hybrid car being equipped with an engine and an electric motor and having an engine control computer for starting the engine in response to a "start engine" demand, and which has a computer for an air conditioner which controls an air conditioner for air-conditioning a vehicle interior portion via a cooling cycle formed by a compressor and an evaporator.

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