According to the European Environmental Agency, transport is responsible for approximately 30% of the EU’s total CO2 emissions, of which 72% comes from road transportation. Indeed, CO2 emissions from passenger transport represent the highest contribution, accounting for around 61% of the total related to road transport in Europe (European Parliament, 2019a). In this regard, the EU has set a sever goal to reduce 60% of this sort of emissions (from transport) by 2050, compared to 1990 levels (European Parliament, 2019b).
In order to tackle the beforementioned emissions associated to road transport, there are two main solutions: i) making vehicle more efficient; ii) changing the type of fuel used. Currently, around 52% of the cars in Europe use petrol as a fuel; nevertheless, electric vehicles (EV) are everyday obtaining attention (European Parliament, 2019a). During the last few years, EV market share was increased; for instance, the sales of battery EV grown 51% in 2017 compared to 2016 in EU countries. However, the nowadays’ EV sales is about 1.5% of new registered passenger cars (European Parliament, 2019a). There are also some other obstacles for user acceptance of EVs, such as high cost, slow charging, limited range, perceived lack of added value and concerns of limited mobility. In this context, i-HeCoBatt project stands for Intelligent Heating and Cooling solution for enhanced range EV Battery packs (BP). The core objective of i-HeCoBatt is to achieve a smart, cost bursting industrial battery heat exchanger to minimize the impact on full electric vehicle range in extreme conditions. In short, this initiative will help to reduce the costs linked to the BP by replacing expensive component of current state-of-the-art products, as well as by minimizing the number of parts used.
Furthermore, this project will contribute to reduce the emissions released during the EV production stage, by identifying eco-design criteria in the novel heat exchanger production, which facilitates the design for easier recycling and disassembly, fostering a circular and low impacting scheme. The production stage of EV consumes about 70 % more primary energy than conventional cars (especially due to the e-powertrain production) and use different rare raw materials (for battery and motor magnets, lithium, etc.) (European Parliament, 2019a; Wang, Fenfen, Yelin Deng, 2020).
The Intelligent Heating and Cooling system proposed in this project will be evaluated from an economic and environmental perspective. Indeed, one of the objectives of i-HeCoBatt is to prove of a minimum of 20% cost reduction in mass production of the thermal system by introducing an innovative heat exchanger. In this regard, Vertech Group will assess the potential economic and environmental impacts by using state-of-the-art methodologies (i.e. life cycle costing and life cycle assessment). These analyses will support internal decisions regarding sustainability issues (identified during the production) and will be useful to compare the economic and environmental performance with the current heating and cooling system utilized in EV.
European Parliament. (2019a). CO2 emissions from cars: facts and figures (infographics). https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/headlines/society/20190313STO31218/co2-emissions-from-cars-facts-and-figures-infographics
European Parliament. (2019b). Reducing carbon emissions: EU targets and measures. https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/headlines/priorities/climate-change/20180305STO99003/reducing-carbon-emissions-eu-targets-and-measures
Wang, Fenfen, Yelin Deng, and C. Y. (2020). Life cycle assessment of lithium oxygen battery for electric vehicles. Journal of Cleaner Production, 121339.