Do you feel the range of your electric vehicle is not long enough? Japanese company, Daikin, has identified an unlikely culprit: the refrigerant in your vehicle’s air conditioning system.
While your car AC works tirelessly to keep temperatures within your comfort zone, the bulk of the job is done by the refrigerant inside it. How efficient the refrigerant is determines the amount of energy needed to regulate your cabin temperature.
According to Nikkei Asia, Daikin has now worked on a new refrigerant that the company claims can increase your driving range by up to 50% as it requires far less power to work, compared to common refrigerants. It has a boiling point that is minus 40 C, which is about 15 degrees lower. So the less energy drawn from the battery by the AC, the more kilometers you are able to drive on a full charge.
Daikin claims to have tested its new refrigerant on electric vehicles in Japan and reported that a 200 km range car, for example can gain 100 km more.
The company expects electric vehicle makers to jump at its refrigerant to increase the range of their cars, as the alternative of adding more battery is much more expensive. In real numbers, they spend an average of $270 on refrigerant produced by American companies Honeywell and Chemours, per car. So even if Daikin doubles the cost of its own refrigerant, it is still a paltry sum compared to the cost of batteries.
Daikin is waiting on the US industry group SAE International to certify the performance and safety of its new refrigerant under operating conditions. It hopes to enter the electric vehicle market by 2025.
Daikin is currently the largest producer of air conditioner and refrigerant but is yet to enter the electric vehicle industry. By the time it is ready to do so, in 2025, global production of electric vehicles is expected to hit 11.84 million units.
While auto makers are concentrating on battery efficiency to increase driving range, Daikin believes its refrigerant is a low hanging fruit for auto makers to take advantage of.