One of the issues that automakers are going to have increasingly deal with in the coming years as vehicles get hybridized and electrified is thermal management of batteries. Currently, almost all hybrid vehicles are using air cooled battery packs although the upcoming Mercedes-Benz ML450 two-mode hybrid is using a liquid cooled nickel metal hydride battery. For electric drive cars, a mix of air and liquid cooling techniques are used. Regardless of the chosen direction, supplier Behr is hoping to cash in. Among other things, Behr does a lot thermal management, including engine cooling, climate control and turbocharger intercooling.

The company's U.S. branch has set up an engineering group at its Troy, Michigan headquarters just to focus on battery thermal management. Behr plans to work with both automakers and battery pack and cell suppliers to optimize the systems needed to maintain correct battery temperature.

[Source: Behr]


Behr America Forms New Battery Cooling Group

TROY, Mich.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In support of the company's accelerated development activities within the fast-growing hybrid and electric vehicle market, Behr America has formed a Battery Cooling Group at its headquarters in Troy to meet the increasing demand for thermal-management technology.

The new group, managed by Fred Pumper, manager, Thermal Solutions and Validation Test, Behr America, will focus on growing the company's battery cooling activities as well as support Behr's Group in Stuttgart, Germany.

"We have established a Battery Group at our Behr America headquarters to support our customers, both our OEM customers with their vehicle integration and direct battery pack integration of thermal systems as well, for battery suppliers," said John Tepas, director/chief engineer, Behr America. "This group will build on four years of active development already completed by our Battery Cooling Division lead by Dr. Thomas Heckenberger, director of advanced development in Behr's Stuttgart, Germany technical center."

Tepas noted that one of the main technological challenges of battery-powered vehicles is maintaining optimum battery temperature -- crucial for top battery performance and longevity. Behr has developed a significant expertise in this area, both in Europe and in the U.S., and has considerable experience in three different technical solutions for battery cooling: cooled air; refrigerant, and secondary loop solutions.

All three approaches require the integration of battery cooling into the air-conditioning circuit. Vehicle architecture and other technical requirements determine which solution best fits a specific vehicle platform. Behr's extensive system integration expertise gives the company a unique technological advantage in providing solutions for battery thermal management.

"In the U.S. market, Behr supplies a full thermal management system for GM's Lambda platform vehicles as well as programs still in development," Tepas said. "Based on this experience, we are well-equipped to meet the challenges of battery thermal management in the automotive industry."

Behr's North American headquarters is in Troy, Michigan. Behr America has nearly 2,500 employees at facilities in Troy, Mich.; Dayton, Ohio; Charleston, S.C.; Fort Worth, Texas, and Ramos Arizpe, Mexico.

Behr GmbH & Co. KG, Stuttgart, Germany, is a systems partner for the international automobile industry. A specialist for automotive air-conditioning and engine-cooling systems, the Behr Group is one of the world's leading manufacturers and suppliers of original equipment for passenger and commercial vehicles. Group sales in the 2008 business year came to approximately $4.1 billion. Currently, Behr employs approximately 19,000 staff at 17 development locations, 28 production locations and 12 joint ventures worldwide.

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