Can we centralise auto-cooling/heating?

Imagine in 10 years, you stop your car (electric), a robot system swaps your depleted battery for a new one and also swaps an LN2 (Liquid Nitrogen) canister. So why would we want a cold canister of LN2? Why not just turn on the old A/C? This idea comes as an opportunity as result of possible changes. 1) Emergence of electric cars, 2) the resultant reduction in parts, 3) The need to conserve energy, 4) Regular stops at a fuel depot.

Even today, we all stop at a servo to pick up fuel, and can potentially implement such as system. An A/C compressor in our car cannot be considered to be as efficient as a domestic reverse cycle A/C unit or an industrial heat pump. So if there was a system to distribute “COLD” and “HOT” rather than making it on the drive, we would save resources and  money. But with today’s system, we already have an excess of heat from the combustion engine.

It’s undeniable that we’ll be moving away from OIL based fuels toward a more efficient electric system. We’re running out of OIL and electricity is so much easier to transmit. Let’s not start on the reasons why Hydrogen is a bad idea – let’s just have one energy transmission system – electricity.

As I’ve said in the past, when you convert to an electric car, you don’t need a radiator, clutch, gearbox, gaskets, timing chains, conrods, transmission fluid, engine oil, large brakes, flywheel, sump, pollution gear, filters, heavy engine block, fuel pump, spark plugs, fuel injectors, valves, …….. Just batteries, a regulator and two or more electric motors. That is of course until you want to stay cool in summer – in an electric car you need a separate motor to run the A/C compressor. Or warm in winter – you now need an electric radiator. Both of which are extra expensive components which drain precious battery power.

My ideal vision for an electric car, is not one that uses dorky inductive paddles to recharge your batteries – that’s so 1900s. The best idea I have seen for this is to battery swap. You can be in and out like an F1 pitstop! I guess fuel stores want you to consider their amazing multi-buy deals – but they’ll have to find a way for you to order from the car 🙂 Of course, you can still recharge at home, but home-charge will never be scalable. As batteries get more efficient and people can store more energy and therefore have faster cars, they’re going to need to recharge faster – something that a household single phase is going to struggle with in the future. Wiring up service depots with more power (and maybe a token solar panel or two) is more likely.

Such a power depot will also be able to operate a small LN2 producing heat pump. It only needs to be run (in Geelong anyway) during summer. As I said at the start, when the futuristic robot changes your batteries, for about $2 it also changes an LN2 canister or for heat a molten salt container? Maybe the hot side of the heat pump can be used to warm up pies 🙂

You would have a simple cat-sized (I panicked)  radiator which would take the LN2 (or heat source) and apply the desired amount of thermal transfer. It would actually cool better than an A/C too. By the way, storing “COLD” in LN2 takes up much less room and weight than storing the energy in a battery to run a small A/C unit in the car. Also, you won’t need to re-gas your A/C every whenever saving you thousands. Where I live, it only gets too hot in summer – so why pay thousands for an A/C unit in your car that you’ll only use a few times a year?

Let me know what you think.