How many times do you find yourself climbing into your car only to fight with the thermostat the entire drive? You crank up the AC to achieve your ideal temperature, then your fellow passengers start complaining they are too cold. And when you finally get the temperature to where they are comfortable, you’re hot again. This will all soon be changing, as Gentherm is transforming in-vehicle comfort by enabling a personalized climate zone for every individual in the vehicle. This cutting-edge technology, known as ClimateSense®, will not only help everyone in the car achieve comfort but has also been shown to reduce vehicle energy.
Our CEO Phil Eyler sat down with Drew Winter, senior analyst of Wards Intelligence, TU Automotive, as part of the NAIAS Q’d UP series to discuss the future of car comfort and the benefits that personalized microclimates will have in the booming EV industry.
“A big part of our future is really rethinking the climate for an electric vehicle,” Eyler explains. “We are implementing what we think is a revolutionary feature of a microclimate, so basically a climate zone for each individual in the vehicle.”
This is part of Gentherm’s ClimateSense, a proprietary microclimate solution comprised of advanced thermal products, integrated electronics, and embedded software which enables easy integration with existing automatic central HVAC control. Our human centric approach to automotive comfort is based on our deep knowledge and understanding of thermophysiology, the science of how our bodies respond and regulate temperature in all environments. Our advanced research is looking at how we can use AI and machine learning to enable intelligent, personalization of comfort. We see a future where your vehicle knows you and provides perfect thermal comfort for each individual.
“We’re striving to put climate systems for the individual around the person’s body so that you don’t rely on the instrument panel and all of the blowers in that one spot.”
“We’re striving to put climate systems for the individual around the person’s body so that you don’t rely on the instrument panel and all of the blowers in that one spot,” Eyler says. “It actually moves with the individual. So instead of focusing on heating up or cooling the entire cabin, Gentherm is placing its attention on where a person is sitting in the car.”
The goal is to personalize this technology so that no matter what car a passenger rides in, their thermal preference profile moves with them as they get into the vehicle. Gentherm envisions a future where you can get into your car and your smart device will sync with the car’s operating system to apply your ideal climate comfort settings.
And ClimateSense, says Eyler, can also help with consumer EV range anxiety. “I have a friend who loves to go on ski trips with his family and is driving an EV and makes his kids pile blankets all over them in the backseat just to make sure he’s safe with his battery charge,” Eyler shares. Data from a recent study utilizing ClimateSense in a Chevy Bolt EV showed the technology can deliver between 50 to 69 percent energy savings in cold-weather testing and 34 percent energy savings in hot weather testing, when compared to only using the existing central HVAC system. “If you apply that to the range of the vehicle, you’re able to add 33 percent more range in a cold weather cycle by installing this,” Eyler proclaims.
Gentherm is currently partnering with several OEMs to integrate the ClimateSense solution in future vehicles “It’s a big change,” explains Eyler. “There’s a lot of testing and architecture that has to change in the vehicle to do that and we’re partnering with global automakers to achieve this.” And Eyler says this personal climate control technology could be installed in cars, especially electric vehicles, within the next few years.
In July, Gentherm received the company’s first production vehicle award for its ClimateSense technology on an all-new 2024 model year electric vehicle with a global automaker. Learn more about ClimateSense and how it’s changing the auto industry as we know it.