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Apple’s foray into the electric vehicle market has been a hot topic of discussion for years, and recent reports suggest that the company is inching closer to bringing its electric car to the market. The latest development in this regard is a patent that has been granted to the company for “thermal control systems for battery charging” for an electric vehicle.
The new patent deals with charging electric vehicle batteries, particularly with thermal control systems used to improve battery charging rates and raise or lower charging temperatures. As noted in the patent, electric and hybrid-electric vehicles use a power-storing device in the form of a battery to generate driving force, either alone or in combination with an internal combustion engine.
In a fully-electric vehicle, the battery must be externally charged at a charging station using a charging cable extending from the charging station to a connector that interfaces with a charge inlet on the vehicle. The charging rate depends on the temperature of the various components within the charging system. The higher the charging rate or the charging current, the higher the heat generation, limiting the overall rate of charge and increasing the wait time for the user.
Apple’s patent addresses this issue by proposing a thermal control system for use during electric vehicle battery charging. The system includes a charging station that thermally conditions a fluid and sends the liquid to a vehicle charge inlet. The vehicle charge inlet then thermally conditions the fluid and sends it to either a vehicle thermal loop or a vehicle heat exchanger.
In another thermal control system, the charging station thermally conditions a liquid and sends it to a vehicle charge inlet. The vehicle charge inlet then thermally conditions the fluid and sends it back to the charging station. In yet another thermal control system, a vehicle thermal loop supplies a liquid at a first temperature to a vehicle charge inlet. The vehicle charge inlet then thermally conditions the fluid to a second temperature and returns the fluid to the vehicle thermal loop.
Existing charging systems rely on vehicle-based components such as a radiator and a fan to cool the battery during charging.
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However, the battery or internal combustion engine must expend power to operate these components, creating a noisy charging environment for the user and increasing charging time. Apple’s proposed thermal control system seeks to overcome these issues and create a more efficient and user-friendly charging experience.
While the patent does not provide any concrete details about the Apple Car, it is clear that the company is continuing to work on innovative solutions for electric vehicle technology. It remains to be seen when the Apple Car will make its debut, but with patents like this one, it is clear that the company is taking the electric vehicle market seriously and is committed to creating a car that stands out from the crowd.