How Does Air Conditioning Work in an Electric Car?

Everyone is familiar with the fact that air conditioning is an important feature in automobiles to keep the temperature inside the cabin at a safe and comfortable point. Air conditioning in electric cars works differently than traditional vehicles having internal combustion engines. There are various factors to keep in mind while designing an air conditioner for an electric car. The biggest difference between the electric car’s air conditioner and traditional vehicles is the source to supply energy to the AC.

Function of compressor

The compressor is an essential part of the air conditioner. In electric cars the compressor is located in the front of the car, it takes energy from the battery in the vehicle or from Energy Storage System (ESS) which is placed in the rear area. This compressor is similar to the one used in refrigerators in our homes. It works by using a power of 400 volts. The function of this compressor is to push the refrigerant to the chilling unit which cools the air. This cold air is then passed to the cabin through the AC vent.

Function of heater

In traditional internal combustion engines, a heater matrix is used to produce heat in the cabin during winters when the temperature drops down outside. In electric cars that heater matrix is replaced by an electric heater to produce heat. But another problem is that the heater can use so much power from the battery that it can result in running out of power.

So to avoid this problem Tesla uses a Positive Temperature Coefficient (PTC) heater. It performs the function of a resistor that causes an increase in its resistance to electricity with the increase in heat. This ensures that an optimal amount of energy is consumed to generate heat. Moreover, it will not increase the temperature above a safe level.

Maintaining battery temperature

With all the useful features associated with electric cars, there are some problems as well. A major problem is maintaining the temperature of the battery pack to increase the life and performance of the battery. It is necessary to keep it at optimum temperature because if the temperature of the battery would increase than a safe level it can result in danger and loss.

So, in order to keep the battery or Energy Storage System at an optimum level, Tesla uses a pump that circulates antifreeze mix around the ESS. This antifreeze mix acts as an independent cooling system. This ensures that there are only minimal temperature differences in the cells of the battery pack.


Although electric vehicles make many things simple for human usage it uses some complex systems than traditional vehicles to keep them going. By using these complex systems inside these cars maximum efficiency can be delivered to add to the comfort of their drivers. Some important things need to be considered while designing electric cars so that subsequent dangers can be avoided. These are environment-friendly and safe to use just by keeping few precautions in mind.