Electric vehicles (EVs) are receiving more attention these days because they are environmentally friendly (no emissions) and are much quieter than internal combustion engine vehicles with rapidly decreasing prices. One of the serious limitations of EVs is the limited driving range. When conventional heating and air conditioning systems are used in winter and summer, the driving range is reduced further because they consume a lot of electric energy stored in the batteries. A thermoelectric cooling system integrated with thermal energy storage has been identified as an attractive alternative to traditional air conditioning in electric vehicles. The main goal of such a system is to minimize the amount of electricity that is drawn for air-conditioning from the electric battery of the vehicle, thus eliminating further reduction in driving range. Not only is the alternative more light weight than the conventional vapor compression based air-conditioning system, it also reduces the amount of electricity drawn from the battery. The proposed system is comprised of thermal energy storage (TES) employing phase change materials (PCMs), thermoelectric electric modules, and a fan. The TES, also referred to as a thermal battery here, can be charged before at home or at a charging station before driving like the electric battery, and is discharged when used in driving. This study involved the design and development of a TES for EVs employing computational fluid dynamics and heat transfer analyses. The model includes all the key components such as thermoelectric (Peltier) modules, heat sinks and the PCM. Various simulations for thermal battery charging and discharging have been conducted to demonstrate the feasibility of incorporating TES coupled with thermoelectric modules.

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