It’s summer and the heat is on, which means increased use of vehicle HVAC systems and a loss of fuel economy or range in the case of electric vehicles.
HVAC use in the burgeoning commercial EV industry is a particularly sensitive topic since EVs carry heavier loads than their passenger car counterparts and need to keep up with the range demands of competitive business cycles while keeping drivers comfortable.
To help reduce HVAC use in commercial EVs, thus prolonging range, industry leaders have suggested using heated seats, heated steering wheels and heated seat belts to keep drivers warm along with ventilated seats and fans to keep drivers cool.
Now an Israeli start-up is offering a new take on HVAC reduction with a unique vehicle wrap it claims will lower cab and cargo temperatures, resulting in improved EV range, better fuel economy and lower emissions in the case of internal combustion.
On its website, SoCold posts that its Glacier 110 “cooling coating is applied to the surface of an object and uses sunlight to trigger a reaction that converts heat into radiation in a process called ‘anti-Stokes fluorescence,’ providing a cooling effect.”
SoCold CEO and co-founder Yaron Shenhav explained that one of several Glacier 100 pilots includes an electric box truck operated by Anheuser-Busch InBev in Brazil. The interior temperature of the cargo area was nearly 13 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than a truck without the wrap, making for cooler beer deliveries from the non-reefer truck.
Israel Prison Service buses covered with Glacier 100 reportedly dropped the interior temperature up to 20 degrees Fahrenheit resulting in less HVAC use.
Enabling range improvement in electric trucks is something Shenhav is particularly excited about. The pilot with Annheuser-Busch’s electric trucks has since expanded to 10 trucks.
“The most crucial thing there is the distance of driving, right?” Shenhav said, adding that Glacier 100 “can increase driving distance 7%, 8% quite easily.”
Less cooling needed in the cab can also result in spec’ing smaller AC units, further reducing costs Shenhav said.
Reefer trucks using diesel-fueled refrigeration systems can reduce emissions since Glacier 100 can help keep the cargo area cooler and reduce compressor cycling.
Shenhav also sees the wrap being an ideal fit for long-haul tractors where drivers want to keep the cab cooler while driving or catching a snooze in the sleeper.
SolCold has entered pilots with roughly 40 companies across a wide spectrum of industries.
“We're firing in all directions to see market reaction to our product,” Shenhav said. “We are working with automotive markets, with OEMs, aftermarket trucks, the building sector, defense sector, cellular and in textiles.”
Hyundai and Volkswagen recently entered pilots to test the material on passenger cars. Shenhav said the larger surface areas of Class 8 trucks, however, can result in greater performance.
“I would really love to do a pilot to showcase it there,” he said.
A closer look
Originally developed at Hebrew University with help from physics professor and SolCold co-founder Guy Rome, Glacier 110 is manufactured in four layers: a top layer called a smart filter which reflects 98.5% of the sun’s rays; an anti-Stokes fluorescence layer which provides a cooling effect; a radiative cooling layer; and a mirror layer.
The anti-Stokes fluorescence layer is where the magic happens. According to sciencedirect.com, anti-Stokes fluorescence occurs when “a luminescence center absorbs a low-energy photon, and then emits a high-energy photon. The excess is supplied by the thermal absorption from the optical medium and results in cooling.”
Shenhav explained that Glacier 100 is similar to vinyl vehicle wrap and is applied in like fashion. It’s currently available in white but they’ve been developing other colors for the Israeli military and can do the same for commercial fleets.
Company graphics and logos can be added but shouldn’t be so big that they hinder wrap performance.
Shenhav said Glacier 100 will last roughly 10 years and works better in areas exposed to more sunlight.
“Under bright, direct summer skies, this is when it operates the best,” he said.