SK, Hyundai Partner on Refrigerants for EVs


SK Enmove and Hyundai Motor Group entered an agreement last week to jointly develop refrigerants for heating and cooling the passenger compartment in electric vehicles.

In a Jan. 25 news release, the companies said a new generation of refrigerants is needed for EVs powered solely by battery because unlike vehicles powered by internal combustion engines, they do not have a motor generating large amounts of waste heat.

The companies, both of which are headquartered in Seoul, said SK will develop and supply the refrigerants, while Hyundai is responsible for developing a thermal management system to use them. The news release said EVs are expected to require a 30% improvement in heating performance compared to existing refrigerants.

While BEVs lack internal combustion engines, the large batteries that they run on do generate high amounts of heat that are a challenge to manage. SK and Hyundai did not say whether they might harvest some of that heat.

The most common type of refrigerant used in cars and trucks today is R134A, a freon hydrofluorocarbon. A newer product, R-410A, also a hydrofluorocarbon, is gaining popularity as a substitute.

SK noted that it has already been working to develop thermal management fluids for applications such as EV batteries and immersion coolants used in data processing centers.

Hyundai and SK said their initiative is significant because it represents a joint effort by South Korean companies to enter a market dominated by global corporations.

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Asia    Electric Vehicles    Korea, Republic Of    Region