Extreme cold and extreme heat can reduce an electric vehicle’s range, so, Continental has developed its Smart Heater to help improve cold weather performance and passenger comfort.

Continental doesn’t just make tyres. The automotive equipment supplier has its fingers in a bunch of different pies and late last week its powertrain department revealed its Smart Heater. According to Continental, Thermal Management in both electric and fuel cell vehicles is one of the “trickier bits, which can spoil the fun of driving, if left unattended”.

According to Stephan Rebhan, Head of Technology & Innovation Powertrain at Continental: “Thermal management and efficient charging rank high on that list because they can add to the usability of driving an EV.”

It’s well known that heat and cold can reduce the performance of electric batteries and thus, in electric vehicles, reduce their driving range. Continental said that it wanted to look at reducing “temperature-induced loss to a minimum”.

Last week, Continental shoed off its Thermal Management research vehicle (a medium-sized electric vehicle) which ran specifically developed multi-port Coolant Flow Control Valves (CFCVs), coolant pumps and the newly developed Electro-Thermal Recuperator (ETR) or smart heater. These elements combine to harvest heat and energy at its source and transport them around the vehicle to where they’re needed.

And that could be to warm the battery on a cold day or to warm the cabin instead of drawing off the vehicle’s battery and thus reduce the drain on the battery.

“In an EV both, human and machine, want to be in their comfort zone”, Rebhan said. “A car that is equipped with our smart heater, for instance, can achieve the comfort zone in a third of the time of a model without smart heater.”


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