How Simulation Can Increase Productivity in Electric Vehicle Thermal Management Design

Written by Joseph Solomon

September 2, 2022
thermal management simulation

What To Consider When Designing Thermal Management Systems in Electric Vehicles 

Thermal management system design in the electrification era requires a complex approach to ensure vehicle performance and customer satisfaction. Electric vehicle’s (EV) system design and controls will influence the range of the vehicle, cabin comfort, and performance, and it is important to use a robust approach to understand how relationships and tradeoffs within these systems affect targets. Robust virtual analysis allows such studies to occur efficiently, from fast-running system-level models, to detailed thermal analysis of subsystems.  

Simulation Can Assist EV Thermal Management Design Productivity  

Critical systems in an EV, such as battery packs and integrated motors, require proper cooling to meet performance and range requirements. With the increasing scope of model capabilities, comes the need to be able to edit the boundary conditions and test cases quickly and efficiently for multiple party’s needs. GT-Play, a web-based interface for GT-SUITE, can directly assist with this using a central location for model download, analysis, and design decisions, with a select group of experts overseeing the model uses and capabilities.  

Here’s a walkthrough of an integrated thermal model that has been uploaded to GT-Play for three different end users:  

1. Vehicle Test Engineer: The test engineer needs an efficient way to compare experimental results with simulation results to validate the system-level model. This requires the ability to change test conditions and edit boundary parameters, but the engineer does not have experience with GT. To do this, they reached out to the modeling expert to build such a result within the GT-PLAY platform, as highlighted below:   

GT-Play thermal management simulation

Thermal Management Simulation case setup in GT-Play (Demo Setup)

GT-Play thermal management simulation

Thermal Management Simulation case setup in GT-Play (Demo Results)

2. CAE Engineer: In this case, a design engineer needs to understand how their decisions with regards to a battery cold plate affect the thermal system performance. With the previous design built into a system model already, they communicated with the model expert and wanted to quantify the differences between the original design and the new layout. After reaching out to the model expert, they have received access to look at this study in GT-PLAY, highlighting the most important outputs. The general problem and setup are overviewed in the images below:



cae engineer thermal management simulation model

Battery cold plate thermal system model

3. Calibration Engineer: This engineer needs understanding of how different thermal control parameters will affect vehicle performance. Specifically, they need to understand how changing valve switching inputs will affect the cooling of critical components (battery, motors) versus how it will affect energy efficiency. Since testing this use case would be time intensive, the engineer reached out to the model expert to build this study virtually and gave them specific results they would need to decide. The controls that will be analyzed and reviewed are highlighted in the image below: 

calibration engineer thermal management simulation model

See How These Simulations Can Be Applied to EV Thermal Design in a Live Webinar  

On September 7th, SAE and Gamma Technologies will offer a FREE, live webinar: ‘How to Increase Productivity in EV Design by Leveraging Thermal Simulation.’ In this webinar, we will discuss how critical systems, such as battery packs and integrated motors, can meet performance and range requirements through simulation. This starts with component selection and moving forward with detailed CFD analysis before being merged into a larger system using unique productivity tools. 

Gamma Technologies and SAE September 7 2022 webinar thermal management simulation

 This webinar will help you understand the process of model building, uploading, and analyzing in GT-PLAY for such a complex model. Also, you will further learn how these capabilities can be utilized within GT-SUITE through the three real-world use cases mentioned earlier. 

Register today:  


Learn More about our Thermal Simulation Applications

View this curated page on our thermal simulation applications here.  


Bio of Author:  

Joseph Solomon is a Solutions Consultant at Gamma Technologies, focusing on electrification solutions. Joseph assists GT users in battery design, e-powertrain system analysis, thermal management, and controls development. In 2021, Joseph applied GT-AutoLion to complete his Masters in mechanical engineering at the University of Michigan, titled Investigating Lithium Ion battery performance with an electrochemical-mechanical model. Contact Joseph here!