Radiators are heat exchangers and remove the thermal energy produced in a car to the outside environment. It is a part of ordinary combustion engine vehicles, but electric automobiles are different from other cars.
Do Electric Cars Have Radiators? Some electric cars have radiators, but most of them use different cooling techniques. The battery in an electric vehicle works on the principle of the voltage difference and produces heat during discharging. These cars do not have radiators because they have motors instead of combustion engines and produce less thermal energy than ordinary automobiles. Instead, they use different techniques like air cooling, fins cooling, phase change material, and liquid cooling for controlling the temperature. Tesla cars use front radiators to cool down the motor and car components.
How do batteries of electric cars produce heat?
These vehicles use batteries that convert electric energy into mechanical energy. These batteries get discharged and produce heat.
The heat is produced due to exothermic reactions that take place inside the battery. Fast discharging of the battery produces more heat.
The larger batteries produce more heat than smaller batteries. Since these automobiles have large batteries, they produce more heat.
The battery of an electric vehicle works based on the voltage difference between two electrodes.
As the heat is produced, the electron inside the battery gets excited. The voltage difference between the two electrodes decreases, this reduction in voltage difference can affect the vehicle’s performance.
Do electric cars have a cooling system?
These vehicles have a cooling system that is different from ordinary vehicles. These cars also need to dissipate the excessive heat produced due to discharging of the battery.
The batteries of the electric vehicle can work within a specified extreme temperature. Therefore, the cooling system is essential to regulate the temperature inside the car.
The vehicle stops working when the temperature difference between the two ends of the battery is above 5 to 7 Celsius.
The cooling system can keep the internal temperature within 22 to 44 degrees Celsius.
The higher temperature difference can disturb the charging and discharging rate of the cell, and the car can stop working.
Why do electric cars not have radiators?
These cars use an electric motor to work. The radiators are present in automobiles that have combustion engines.
They are more efficient than ordinary vehicles and do not produce energy in the form of heat.
This is because 95% of the battery power is consumed in moving the car. As a result, it has fewer moving parts that can produce thermal energy. So they do not require a radiator to cool down the motor.
The engine vehicle also produces heat due to the burning of the fuel.
However, as electric automobiles do not use fuel, they do not produce extra thermal energy.
But the heat produced due to discharging is dissipated in the external environment by different techniques.
Do all electric cars have radiators?
No, only some of them have radiators. They have different techniques for maintaining the temperature within range.
These vehicles have different maintenance protocols as compared to other automobiles. But some vehicles have a radiator to cool down the motor and other components.
Some hybrid electric cars use radiators to cool down the inner components.
For example, if the batteries or other components produce excess heat like a combustion engine, these automobiles can have radiators to cool down the system.
Importance of cooling system in electric vehicle
A cooling system is crucial to maintain the temperature of the cell within range. In addition, a higher temperature can speed up the chemical reaction inside the cell.
The components of the battery start aging. As a result, it will damage the structure and functioning of the battery.
It can speed up the degradation of the capacity of the power cell. As a result, the battery will discharge more quickly and takes a long time to recharge.
The lifespan of the ell inside the electric vehicle also becomes shorter. Excessive heat production also causes thermal runaways and explosions in electric vehicles.
They can catch fire when get heated up due to disturbance in the difference in internal temperature.
It is a matter of concern for our well-being and safety. Their cooling system keeps things in control by regulating the temperature.
Different cooling techniques in electric cars
Different brands of electric cars use various techniques to cool down their power cell.
It is a simple technique to regulate heat. It is present in old electric cars, but nowadays, more efficient methods are used for this purpose.
It uses the principle of convection to dissipate excess heat. When the temperature rises inside the cell, airflow over the surface of the battery, it transfers the heat to the outside environment.
This technique is not sufficient to regulate the heat produced by other components. Therefore, it becomes unfit in a hot climate where the temperature is very high.
Furthermore, it cannot dissipate heat to the outside environment in such areas due to negligible temperature differences.
Some electric cars also use fins to transfer excessive heat energy to the outside. The cooling fins have higher thermal conductivity.
They increase the surface area of the power cell. They use conduction and convection methods to dissipate the heat.
The heat is transferred through conduction, and then fins transfer heat to the outside through convection.
It is also present in older models of electric cars. However, they are not suitable because they add a lot of weight to the vehicle.
Phase change material
In this technique, the manufacturer uses different coolants to dissipate heat.
As the temperature rises inside the battery, the coolant changes from one state to another state like solid is converted to liquids.
As it changes its state, it absorbs all the excess thermal energy. In addition, it can absorb thermal energy due to its high latent heat value.
Paraffin and metallic alloys are commonly used phase change materials in electric vehicles.
But this technique is not favorable for these cars. It only absorbs heat but does not transfer it outside the vehicle.
So, the overall reduction in internal temperature is minimal. The volume of the changed state also makes its utility limited.
In this technique, different coolants are available to regulate the amount of heat inside the cell. It is the most efficient technique, and modern electric vehicles use it.
The liquid coolants have a high density and capacity to store thermal energy. This technique is further categorized into two types Direct liquid cooling and indirect liquid cooling.
Indirect liquid cooling: the cell is submerged directly into the coolant. But it is difficult to do because the coolant should non-conductor.
This technique is still in research but is not used in recent models of electric cars.
In indirect cooling, the coolant is circulated in the metal pipes to absorb the excessive heat.
Do Tesla cars have radiators?
Tesla cars have radiators to cool down the motor and other components. In some models, tesla use front radiators to dissipate excessive thermal energy.
Tesla electric cars can have up to 3 radiators. One of these cools down the motor, and the other two regulate the car’s temperature.
They are smaller, thinner, and have unique technology. These radiators are called heat exchangers.