In the course of developing hybrid vehicles
, automakers typically try to minimize parasitic losses wherever possible to maximize the fuel efficiency
numbers. For Chrysler's
first production hybrids
, the Dodge Durango
and Chrysler Aspen
, the struggling automaker has incorporated a new sensor that measures temperature and humidity. Like GM's
two-mode hybrids, the air conditioning system in the Chryslers is electrically driven off the hybrid battery. As those of us who live in areas with hot humid conditions are aware, the moisture level in the air has as much to do with perceived heat as the ambient temperature.
The new integrated temperature humidity sensor factors this in to the climate control to use only as much A/C as needed. If the temperature outside is 80F and the humidity is 80 percent, the system will control the temperature to a lower level than if the humidity was only 30 percent. While this has absolutely no impact on the EPA
(because the air conditioning is turned off during testing) numbers, it will benefit drivers in the real world. The ITHS has been patented by Chrysler and Daimler and will only appear in vehicles from those companies for the time being.