Air conditioning compressors are used to pump refrigerant through the climate system, cooling and dehumidifying the air for vehicle occupants. In conventional vehicles, the compressor is driven by the engine with a belt; therefore it can operate only when the engine is running. An electric compressor in a hybrid vehicle can operate independently, thus enabling the cabin to be cooled when the engine is off.
The electric compressor’s compact design fits the traditional belt-driven compressor package space, minimizing vehicle complexity in platforms that also offer hybrid-electric model variants. Visteon’s product includes the compressor, electric motor and inverter in an integrated, compact set of housings. This modular approach allows the same basic packaging dimensions for the electric motor and power electronics to be designed for either 120V DC or 288V DC applications.
"Visteon strives to provide ‘green’ products, and this new electric compressor supports the brand profile and environmentally friendly objectives of the BMW ActiveHybrid 7," said Nurdal Kuecuekkaya, Visteon’s climate product group lead for Europe. "This new compressor technology not only fulfills our current customer requirements, but also positions us to support other environmentally friendly climate systems like R134a and R1234yf."
Electric compressors also enhance passenger comfort. The cabin can be pre-conditioned before passengers enter, and can be cooled faster because of the independent operation from the combustion engine rpm. Also, cabin comfort can be maintained when the engine is idling or off.
Visteon Corporation is a leading global automotive supplier that designs, engineers and manufactures innovative climate, electronic, interior and lighting products for vehicle manufacturers. With corporate offices in Van Buren Township, Mich. (U.S.); Shanghai, China; and Chelmsford, UK; the company has facilities in 26 countries and employs approximately 26,500 people.