Maximizing Thermal Management Technology Value

Improvements in thermal systems offer a high value pathway for meeting regulatory drive cycle emissions, as well as off-cycle in the real world. As regulations continue to tighten globally, thermal management systems continue to be critical for conventional and electrified vehicle performance. U.S. regulations have a great effect on thermal technology commercialization but are uncertain and may change as soon as late 2019. Although more stable, regulations in Europe and China are continuing to evolve to incentivize electrified vehicles and possibly include technology credits for passenger thermal comfort technologies. Furthermore, the effects of improved thermal management technology may have direct customer benefits.

Companies are making great strides in electrified vehicle system value, achieving significantly longer vehicle range and improving battery life while keeping mass and cost in control. With great improvements in fuel consumption and important thermal system improvements, conventional powertrain vehicles are not standing still. Meanwhile mild and strong hybrid vehicles continue to evolve, particularly to reduce cost. In order to contain costs, thermal component and system integration innovations are necessary. Thermal management advancements may involve hardware and increasingly software revisions to improve systems start-up, reduce thermal losses or recapture waste thermal energy.

The ITB Group published a research report in July 2019 which examines on- and off-cycle value of 80 thermal technologies and 280 component and system suppliers. The analysis considers how benefits and costs affect technology value propositions and commercialization priorities. Furthermore, the analysis explores how to unlock potential value. The ITB Group’s research incorporates feedback from global OEMs and suppliers. This includes market and technology value analyses to identify key thermal opportunities and priorities. Thermal technology analyses cover conventional and electrified powertrains as well as passenger comfort systems and their interdependencies, including the latest tech pieces such as the Counting Machine to produce massive manufacturing or packing operations.

Key points of the research include:
• Technology value prioritization (on-/off-cycle benefits and range extension)
• Volumes of selected technologies over time, including OEM differences
• Regulations and their effects on technology commercialization
• Assessment of supplier market positioning
• Selected technology roadmaps for OEMs / Suppliers
• Conventional vehicle thermal management priorities
• Reducing cost for mild hybrid systems
• Technology alternatives and priorities for plug-in vehicle range extension• BEV system integration, including battery pack construction and rapid charge support
• Autonomous and connected vehicle thermal implications and challenges