Efficiency is King – Optimal Integration of Electrical Thermal Management (Part 1)

Our Webasto experts explain why electrical thermal management is a key element in the electrification of large vehicles and construction machinery.

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Efficiency is King – Optimal Integration of Electrical Thermal Management (Part 1)  - Excerpt

Electrification creates major challenges for the thermal management of batteries and components in large electric vehicles and construction equipment.  During integration, the Webasto thermal management experts have to pay attention to the tight installation space, weight distribution, and the required cooling and heating capacity of the individual components and the overall system – a complex and technically demanding task in which the efficiency of the machines, as well as energy consumption, are paramount.

Electrification is a high strategic priority for construction equipment manufacturers to remain competitive in the long term. However, manufacturers are in a tough spot right now. These vehicles and construction machines have been constantly changed and improved for a long time. It's no surprise that manufacturers are trying to electrify their vehicles as much as possible without changing the tried-and-true interiors. After all, the investments already made need to be kept.

Electrification does not just mean replacing the drive

“Tobias Maier, Product Manager at Webasto, says, “Electrification is the future, but it comes with a great many challenges.” “Electrification of large vehicles and machines is not limited to replacing the previous drive with an electric motor and batteries, it also has a massive impact on thermal management.” Cooling and heating is the second-highest consumer of energy, after the drive train energy demand.  If the combustion motor is now eliminated as a heat source, electrical thermal management must remedy the situation. “Our goal is to improve the efficiency for cooling and heating the batteries, the components, and the people inside the vehicle and in the cabins,” explains Tobias Maier.


Manufacturers are faced with the challenge of achieving the highest possible energy efficiency in a compact form factor. This task is different for each vehicle, and it is influenced by physical limitations, says Charles Byrd, a systems expert at Webasto. “A 200-ton crane is not built like a bus, where you have enough space to install it along the vehicle or on the roof,” he says. “The crane is already fully loaded and is ideally balanced regarding weight. That's where you have to think carefully about how to accommodate additional components, such as electrical thermal management for the batteries, the component, and the cab“.

Everything already in place: Electrical thermal management for the batteries, compnents, the cabin, ando the interior

Webasto offers a comprehensive modular system for electrical thermal management. The basis is the electronic battery thermal management[RG1]  (eBTM), which has been in series production since fall 2022. The eBTM increases the performance and operational capability as well as the service life of the batteries. In cold or icy temperatures, the eBTM becomes mandatory for work machines to ensure normal operation. The portfolio is also bigger with the integrated electrical thermal management (eTM) system, which heats and cools the cab, the power electronics, and the batteries to suit the temperature range needed in each case.[RG2] 


The eBTM constantly monitors and maintains the optimum operating temperature of the battery, ensuring there is no loss of performance or starting difficulties at low temperatures. At high temperatures, the eBTM cools to counteract a change in the cell chemistry. This contributes to the longevity and safety of the battery.

Tobias Maier: “The eBTM protects the capital invested in the battery storage systems. We've observed that the use of the eBTM significantly increases the lifetime of the battery, by at least 20 percent.”

In the second part, learn how Webasto uses eBTM and eTM in different designs and with different requirements.


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