Integrated Vehicle Thermal Management for Advanced Vehicle Propulsion Technologies

Kevin Bennion, Matthew Thornton

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

31 Scopus Citations


A critical element to the success of new propulsion technologies that enable reductions in fuel use is the integration of component thermal management technologies within a viable vehicle package. Vehicle operation requires vehicle thermal management systems capable of balancing the needs of multiple vehicle systems that may require heat for operation, require cooling to reject heat, or require operation within specified temperature ranges. As vehicle propulsion transitions away from a single form of vehicle propulsion based solely on conventional internal combustion engines (ICEs) toward a wider array of choices including more electrically dominant systems such as plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), new challenges arise associated with vehicle thermal management. As the number of components that require active thermal management increase, so do the costs in terms of dollars, weight, and size. Integrated vehicle thermal management is one pathway to address the cost, weight, and size challenges. The integration of the power electronics and electric machine (PEEM) thermal management with other existing vehicle systems is one path for reducing the cost of electric drive systems. This work demonstrates techniques for evaluating and quantifying the integrated transient and continuous heat loads of combined systems incorporating electric drive systems that operate primarily under transient duty cycles, but the approach can be extended to include additional steady-state duty cycles typical for designing vehicle thermal management systems of conventional vehicles. The work compares opportunities to create an integrated low temperature coolant loop combining the power electronics and electric machine with the air conditioning system in contrast to a high temperature system integrated with the ICE cooling system.

Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 2010
EventSAE 2010 World Congress and Exhibition - Detroit, MI, United States
Duration: 13 Apr 201013 Apr 2010


ConferenceSAE 2010 World Congress and Exhibition
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityDetroit, MI

Bibliographical note

For preprint version see NREL/CP-540-47416

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-540-48288


  • electric vehicles
  • ICE
  • internal combusion engine
  • PHEV
  • propulsion
  • thermal
  • vehicle


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