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Electric car heat pump: how does it work?

The heat pump for electric cars is an essential accessory: here’s how it works, its price and why you shouldn’t give it up

January 23, 2023 – 3:09 pm

The heating of electric cars this is one of the least advantageous aspects when driving in very cold weather. It has only become widespread in recent years the heat pump on electric carsinstead of electrical resistance heating systems. Some cars, such as Tesla, Hyundai, Renault, Kia, Opel, Peugeot, etc. they have it as standard. On others, such as the Volkswagen ID.3 and ID.4, it can be requested as an option. But on many other models the heat pump is currently not provided, for example Dacia Spring, Fiat 500 electric and very few other models. So, before buying a used electric car, make sure it has a heat pump. In the following paragraphs, we explain why it is important and how does the heat pump work on electric cars.


The counterpart of the absence of a combustion engine in electric cars is the absence of the heat source used to heat the passenger compartment. here because in electric cars It is common to find heated seats and window defrost systems that take advantage of electric resistors. However, it is a solution that, at very low temperatures, contributes to a considerable reduction in battery life. Reason why several electric car manufacturers have adopted the systems heat pump heating, exploiting the parasitic heat generated on board. The main components of a heat pump system are:

  • compressor;
  • evaporator;
  • Expansion valve;
  • capacitor;

There will therefore always be a point of high pressure and a point of low pressure depending on the state of the refrigerantwhich in modern systems is Gas R744 (carbon dioxide). To these components are added those which recover the thermal energy from the high voltage battery, the electric motor, the inverter and the on-board electronics.


A heat pump for electric cars has the task of increase heating efficiency compared to resistance systems that only use energy stored in the battery. The colder the outside temperature, the greater the benefits a heat pump system can provide while driving, especially in urban driving. The heat pump on electric cars uses in a combined way part of the energy that draws from the battery e all the heat it manages to get from running on-board systems (electric motor, battery, charger, inverter, etc.), which would otherwise be lost. Inside the electric compressor, the refrigerant changes from liquid to gaseous form, so it will be at a higher pressure and temperature than the initial state. The thermal energy captured by the on-board electrical systems helps to reduce the work done by the compressor, which draws less energy from the battery. The high pressure gas is then vented from the compressor and sent to the condenser to be converted back to liquid. In this passage, the thermal energy produced by the change of state of the refrigerant gas is intercepted to heat the air coming from outside and used to heat the passenger compartment.


Depending on the manufacturer and the characteristics of the car, the impact of the presence or absence of the independent heat pump heating it can be very different and depends on ambient temperatures. This continuously updated database, for example, collects the actual mileage data of electric cars around the world. On some electric cars, the option to buy the heat pump as a paying accessory allows you to lower list prices. However, buying an electric car without a heat pump, if the temperature is frequently below zero or if you park the car on the street, may be a bad choice depending on how you use the car. The price of the heat pump as an option on electric cars which do not have it as standard (very few) is approximately 1050 euros for the Skoda ENYAQ And 1150 euros for the Volkswagen ID.3Tax included.

Source : Sicur Auto


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