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The Cost of Cool: Unlocking Vehicle Efficiency with Cabin CFD

Air conditioning can reduce fuel economy by more than 20%, making it the vehicle's most energy-consuming system. To solve this difficult challenge, vehicle designers are turning to Altair's powerful and intuitive CFD solutions to understand the energy consumption and energy losses of the system for increased range and improved passenger thermal environment.

Date: December 10, 2021
Time: 11 AM EST (8 AM PST / 5:00 PM CET)
Duration: 1 hour
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Air conditioning can reduce fuel economy by more than 20%, making it the vehicle's most energy-consuming system. HVAC performance, however, is notoriously difficult to evaluate in physical tests. The airflow and thermal environment is in a state of constant change, requiring designers to use transient CFD simulations to better understand energy consumption and energy losses of the system. Using a simulation-driven approach, OEMs can increase efficiency of cabin interior heating and ventilation systems by dimensioning the target interior or assumed heating/cooling seed.

Altair CFD offers a comprehensive set of tools to solve fluid mechanics problems. The solution includes all the major CFD technologies, enabling engineers to solve all fluids problems regardless of their industry or application. With intuitive workflows and process automation, Altair has made CFD simulation software more accessible than ever before, enabling engineers to simulate the airflow in the passenger compartment including thermal effects such as convection, conduction, and radiation heat transfer. These capabilities give OEMs greater design insights for improving operator environment and optimizing the structure and positioning of vents and ducts to improve overall system efficiency and equipment range.

Key Takeaways

  • Learn how to shorten development cycles and achieve better power efficiency with cabin thermal analysis
  • Detect and correct costly heating and ventilation system issues in the design stage
  • Analyze the effects of airflow, solar radiation, humidity, condensation, and evaporation
  • Uncover thermal insights more easily with Altair CFD workflows and automation


Bill Calver, Director, AcuSolve Program Management, Altair

Bill Calver has over 20 years of experience in the field of computational fluid dynamics and heat transfer. His experience ranges from transient flow analyses involving mesh motion of large complex off-shore systems for natural resource production, to transient thermo-fluid analyses of convection- and buoyancy-driven flows, and also environmental simulations involving defogging, demisting and physiological modeling. Industries in which he has been closely engaged include oil & gas,automotive, wind energy, medical and others. He also has extensive experience integrating CAD and CAE together in the design process.

He is currently the product manager of Altair's AcuSolve CFD solver. Prior to joining Altair, Bill Calver has worked as an independent engineering consultant and also at Ford Motor Company and Visteon Corporation in their respective climate control divisions. He has a B.S. in aerospace engineering from Syracuse University and an M.S. in aerospace engineering from the University of Michigan.