Air conditioning compressors play a much greater role in hybrid and electric vehicles than in those with a combustion engine The air conditioning service is becoming more important, opening up new service volumes for workshops.
Air conditioning compressors are at the heart of the refrigerant circuit. They condition the cabin and control the temperature of probably the most important component in the electric vehicle powertrain: the battery. After all, keeping the traction battery at the right temperature has a crucial impact on the service life, charging speed, and cruising range of the electric vehicle. Traction motors and power electronics must also be cooled. This is transforming the role of the air conditioning compressor. While it was previously responsible for comfort in the cabin, it is now a component of the powertrain, protecting it from damage and ensuring the operational safety of the vehicle. Electric vehicles have to use electrically driven compressors because the circumferential ribbed belt cannot be used as a drive as in the case of a combustion engine. But hybrid vehicles or vehicles with a combustion engine also benefit from electrically driven compressors since they can be operated on a demand basis, thereby reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
“The extended functionality of the air conditioning compressor in the area of e-mobility and in hybrids is boosting the significance of the A/C service, thereby creating greater service volumes for workshops,” says Olaf Henning, Corporate Executive Vice President and General Manager MAHLE Aftermarket. “It is up to workshops to inform drivers of hybrid and electric vehicles about the consequences of a system failure. These range from reduced cruising range or vehicle stoppage to damaged components. Of course, we support our customers by providing them with information material, training, and our proven A/C service and diagnostics solutions,” Henning continues.
In 2020, its anniversary year, MAHLE Aftermarket has 1,100 different air conditioning compressors in its range. When purchasing, MAHLE Aftermarket’s customers benefit from its extensive expertise in the OEM business, 100 years of experience in the development and production of components for vehicles, as well as more than 30 years of experience in the area of A/C service.