cars

German Researchers Aim to Make Energy-Efficient Vehicle Air Conditioning Systems

Cars
The air conditioning systems used in many of today’s residential homes are more energy-efficient than ever before. In fact, today’s air conditioners consume 30 – 50% less energy on average than those manufactured in the 1970s.

But what about the air conditioning system in your car? How can these systems maintain a comfortable temperature within your vehicle while still maintaining a high level of energy efficiency?

A team of German engineers recently tried to find the answer by studying air conditioning energy efficiency in electric vehicles.

According to a Phys.org article, researchers at Munich’s Technische Universität München (TUM) sought to find a solution on creating a subjectively comfortable climate for passengers without skimping on energy efficiency. Because electric vehicles largely adopted concepts from combustion-engine vehicles, their air conditioning systems have thus far placed a huge dent in their ability to consume electricity efficiently.

To solve this problem, the researchers took an entirely new angle to in-vehicle air conditioning, throwing everything they knew about combustion-engine vehicles out the window. They ultimately found that cooling in direct proximity to the passenger’s body, rather than cooling the entire cabin, provided the most energy-efficient solution.

“Our trials showed that uniform climate control is not necessary,” Marius Janta, staff member of the Chair for Ergonomics at the TU München, explained. “When we heat the seat of a passenger on cold days, passengers find it pleasant. With only a small amount of energy we can significantly reduce the sense of discomfort.”

Phys.org reports that the researchers also boosted electric vehicle efficiency through integrating the car’s performance electronics into a system of holistic thermal management. This means that during the winter, waste heat generated by the engine and performance electronics are used to warm the passenger cabin. Conversely, excess air conditioning capacity could be used to cool the car’s performance electronics during the warmer months.

And this solution isn’t exclusive to electric vehicles — the researchers explained that these energy-efficient concepts can be applied to combustion-engine vehicles, as well.

Auto Manufacturer Responds to Car Photobombing Complaints by Designing Camouflage Net

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Nobody actually likes photobombs, especially the residents of one charming English village.

For years, the quaint English countryside village of Bibury has served as a popular tourist destination for these eager to see the old-world 14th and 17th century cottages that line Arlington Row. The picturesque scene is something the English are very proud of. In fact, it’s even highlighted on the inside of the British passport and is considered one of the most photographed streets in the entire country.

But there’s one problem.

According to the BBC, an 82-year-old resident’s bright yellow Vauxhall Corsa is photobombing nearly every picture tourists try to take of the iconic setting, so much so that this little compact car has garnered a lot of negative attention — and even hate — online.

After hearing about the issue,the automaker released a brand new product to mask colorful Corsa hatchbacks in order to make them less visually disruptive. Enter the camouflage net.

Vauxhall’s cheeky press release described the brand new product in great detail, going on to say it was an “essential accessory,” that is both “quick and easy to operate” as well as “ideal for use in the countryside by tourists who want to park close to their destination.” The Corsa Camo-net is available for both three- and five-door models of the car, which is often painted in bright colors such as Flaming Yellow, Flame Red, Chili Orange, and Line Green.

The good news? Despite their disdain for the vehicle, disgruntled residents and even some visitors of the Gloucestershire village have been quick to leap to the defense of the vehicle’s owner, Peter Maddox. The retired dentist does not have a garage and therefore must park on the street, in plain view of those aiming for the perfect shot.

Francome Robinson, 71, has lived in of the village’s famous cottages for the past 23 years and was just one of many who came to Maddox’s defense. “Tourists should get a life. They must realize that we live here. These are our homes. Mr Maddox has every right to park there and there isn’t anywhere else he can park.”