With an optimized manufacturing structure in North America and new, technologically-advanced products, Behr is ready to be a significant contributor to America’s reinvented automotive industry as the domestic car and truck market recovers.
Behr’s future plans include new products and technology to meet goals of the fuel economy and ecology as well as demands of automakers and consumers. Some of Behr’s cutting-edge technology includes innovative products for lithium-ion battery powered vehicles; battery thermal management (cooling and heating), air-conditioning and high-voltage electric heating concepts for electric vehicles and new efficient cabin heating concepts for hybrid vehicles. Engine mounted components focus on making gasoline powered engines as efficient as diesel engines while providing improvements in environmental sustainability of traditional internal combustion engines.
John Tepas, Behr America director and chief engineer, and Martin Bauer, director and chief engineer for engine-mounted components, recently demonstrated examples of Behr’s latest global technology at the company’s headquarters in Troy, MI., including:
* Innovative products for cooling temperature-sensitive lithium-ion drive batteries and also energy-saving heating and air conditioning systems for hybrid and electric vehicles. Behr began working on new concepts in 2005 and has created a new product center at its Troy headquarters for this business sector.
* The world’s first cooling plate for lithium-ion batteries in a production vehicle, introduced last year on the Mercedes-Benz S 400 BlueHybrid. The plate is directly cooled by refrigerant supplied from the vehicle’s air conditioning system, so an additional water circuit is not needed.
* A new battery-cooling concept featuring a “chiller” component goes into production this year. In this Behr system, water that flows through the cooling plate is cooled in the chiller by evaporating refrigerant from the air-conditioning system.
* Another Behr battery-cooling option controls battery temperature by using a separately-cooled stream of air. It goes into production next year.
* Innovative air conditioning systems are solving the challenges of electric-powered vehicles. For example, occupant comfort can be impacted in hybrid vehicles with stop-start systems when the air-conditioning compressor, driven by the gasoline engine, is shut off during stop phases. Behr has developed a new storage evaporator to keep the interior adequately cooled during vehicle stops.
* A high-voltage electric heater is available for electric vehicle interiors which cannot have the conventional heater core heated by coolant from the engine. Behr’s heater can be directly interfaced with the vehicle’s high-voltage electric system.
* New efficient cabin heating concepts for hybrid vehicles, branded ECO-Heat, also are under development at Behr. Through specially-configured designs, these systems can cut additional fuel consumption in the heating mode in half.
* Behr’s ECO-A/C® brand offers numerous improvements in design of the refrigerant circuit, HVAC module and control system for hybrid and electric vehicles, which need to use energy for air conditioning very efficiently, Compared to current air conditioning systems, this permits a further reduction of fuel consumption caused by air conditioning by more than 20 percent.
* New charge air coolers integrated into the intake manifold or engine-mounted for downsized turbocharged engines allow for downsizing the gasoline engine without compromising its power. Making gasoline engines as efficient as the diesel engines is an industry objective.
* New EGR Coolers significantly improve knocking limits and the ability to tune earlier combustion for gasoline engines. This contributes to an almost five percent fuel consumption improvement for certain applications.
* New exhaust-heat management systems allow for a faster engine warm-up through transmission oil cooling, and reduce fuel consumption, while enabling faster cabin heating for improved comfort.
* Products such as Visco clutches provide for fuel efficiency improvements while making vehicles more environmentally sustainable.
“With our technologically-advanced products on upcoming vehicles of Detroit-based and European manufacturers and our optimized manufacturing structure in North America, Behr has positioned itself as a significant contributor to America’s reinvented automotive industry,” Otto said.
“As a systems partner, Behr provides automakers comprehensive single-source thermal management which helps them use energy more efficiently, lower fuel consumption and reduce CO2 emissions to comply with more stringent emission standards,” he continued.
Behr’s North American headquarters is in Troy, Michigan. Behr America has nearly 2,200 employees at facilities in Troy, Mich.; Dayton, Ohio; Charleston, S.C.; Fort Worth, Texas, and Ramos Arizpe, Mexico.
Behr GmbH & Co. KG, Stuttgart, Germany, is a systems partner for the international automobile industry. A specialist for automotive air-conditioning and engine-cooling systems, the Behr Group is one of the world’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of original equipment for passenger and commercial vehicles. Group sales in the 2009 business year came to approximately $3.5 billion. Currently, Behr employs approximately 17,000 staff at 17 development locations, 28 production locations and 12 joint ventures worldwide.