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Car cloak helps moderate EV battery temperatures

Swatches | December 1, 2023 | By:

In tests, the cabin of an uncovered car reached 50.5 C (122.9 F) at midday, and the covered car reached 22.8 C (73 F). The outside temperature was 30.6 C (87 F). At midnight, the covered car stayed 6.8 C (12.24 F) higher than the temperature outside, never dropping below freezing. Image: Shanghai Jiao Tong University/Huaxu Qiao

Electric vehicles’ (EV) batteries perform best within a range of temperatures, roughly 60 to 80 F, give or take several degrees. On cold mornings, warming them up before you leave is essential, and when it’s really hot outside, the battery management system cools the batteries. Both processes sacrifice some mileage range for the vehicle. To help mitigate this issue, researchers in China developed a car cover that both reflects and radiates heat to prolong EV battery life and mileage range.

The cover is made predominantly of silica and aluminum and is lightweight, durable and fire-retardant. It needs no external energy input; the outer layer reflects sunlight, and the inner layer keeps heat inside. 

The team designed the manufacturing of the cover to be scalable. For example, while thinner silica fibers would have increased solar reflectivity, they couldn’t be made with current industrial-level production techniques.

Information about the prototype was published in July in Device.

This work was supported by the Science and Technology Commission of Shanghai Municipality and Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

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