Conference article

Cabin Thermal Needs: Modeling and Assumption Analysis

Florent Brèque
MINES ParisTech, PSL Research University, Center for energy Efficiency of Systems, 5 rue Léon Blum, Palaiseau, 91120, France

Maroun Nemer
MINES ParisTech, PSL Research University, Center for energy Efficiency of Systems, 5 rue Léon Blum, Palaiseau, 91120, France

Download article

Published in: Proceedings of the 12th International Modelica Conference, Prague, Czech Republic, May 15-17, 2017

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 132:84, p. 771-781

Show more +

Published: 2017-07-04

ISBN: 978-91-7685-575-1

ISSN: 1650-3686 (print), 1650-3740 (online)


Interest for cabin thermal needs has strongly increased for the past 10 years, particularly due to heating. Indeed, the development of electric and hybrid vehicles put a focus on the HVAC, this high-consuming auxiliary, which can dramatically decrease the vehicle electric range. Thus, this paper presents a detailed transient and mono-zonal model of a car cabin in order to predict the thermal needs. The model is developed using the MODELICA language via the DYMOLA environment. It considers conduction, convection, radiation heat transfers as well as the HVAC and water vapor impacts. The different assumptions of the model are discussed and important considerations usually not discussed are pointed out. The thermal loads are analyzed. Finally, the heating and cooling thermal needs are computed for steady state mode and for convergence mode as well as for varying recirculation ratios. This work is useful to better understand what is behind cabin thermal needs.


Thermal model, vehicle cabin, cabin thermal needs, HVAC, heating, Air-conditioning, electric vehicle


Abou Eid, R., 2016. Rapport - Passenger comfort and HVAC thermal load in a tramway.

Al-Kayiem, H.H.., Sidik, F.B.M.., Munusammy, Y.R.. A.. L., 2010. Study on the Thermal Accumulation and Distribution Inside a Parked Car Cabin. Am. J. Appl. Sci. 7, 784–789.

ASHRAE, 2009. ASHRAE Handbook—Fundamentals.

Bergman, T.L., Lavine, A.S., Incropera, F.P., Dewitt, D.P., 2011. Fundamentals of Heat and Mass Transfer, 6th ed. John Wiley & Sons.

Boukhris, Y., Gharbi, L., Ghrab-Morcos, N., 2009. Modeling coupled heat transfer and air flow in a partitioned building with a zonal model: Application to the winter thermal comfort. Build. Simul. 2, 67–74. doi:

Daoud, A., Galanis, N., 2008. Prediction of airflow patterns in a ventilated enclosure with zonal methods. Appl. Energy 85, 439–448. doi:

Fujita, A., Kanemaru, J. ichi, Nakagawa, H., Ozeki, Y., 2001. Numerical simulation method to predict the thermal environment inside a car cabin. JSAE Rev. 22, 39–47. doi:

Inard, C., Bouia, H., Dalicieux, P., 1996. Prediction of air temperature distribution in buildings with a zonal model. Energy Build. 24, 125–132. doi:

Iskandar, B.S., 2010. Study on the Thermal Accumulation and Distribution Inside a Parked Car Cabin Hussain H . Al-Kayiem , M . Firdaus Bin M . Sidik and Yuganthira R . A . L Munusammy Department of Mechanical Engineering , University Technology PETRONAS ,. Ashrae Stand. 7, 784–789.

Kataoka, T., Nakamura, Y., 2001. Prediction of thermal sensation based on simulation of temperature distribution in a vehicle cabin 30, p, 195–212.

Li, W., Sun, J., 2013. Numerical simulation and analysis of transport air conditioning system integrated with passenger compartment. Appl. Therm. Eng. 50, 37–45. doi:

Marcos, D., Pino, F.J., Bordons, C., Guerra, J.J., 2014. The development and validation of a thermal model for the cabin of a vehicle. Appl. Therm. Eng. 66, 646–656. doi:

Mezrhab, A., Bouzidi, M., 2006. Computation of thermal comfort inside a passenger car compartment. Appl. Therm. Eng. 26, 1697–1704. doi:

Sanaye, S., Dehghandokht, M., Fartaj, A., 2012. Temperature control of a cabin in an automobile using thermal modeling and fuzzy controller. Appl. Energy 97, 860–868. doi:

Sevilgen, G., Kilic, M., 2012. Three dimensional numerical analysis of temperature distribution in an automobile cabin. Therm. Sci. 16, 321–326. doi:

Swinbank, W.C., 1963. Long-wave radiation from clear skies. Q. J. R. Meteorol. Soc. 89, 339–348. doi:

Torregrosa-Jaime, B., Bjurling, F., Corberan, J.M., Di Sciullo, F., Paya, J., 2015. Transient thermal model of a vehicle’s cabin validated under variable ambient conditions. Appl. Therm. Eng. 75, 45–53. doi:

Versteeg, H., Malalasekera, W., 2007. An introduction to computational fluid dynamics: The finite volume method, PEARSON Pr. ed. Wischhusen, S., 2012. Modelling and Calibration of a Thermal Model for an Automotive Cabin using HumanComfort Library. Int. Model. Conf. 253–263. doi:

Zhang, H., Dai, L., Xu, G., Li, Y., Chen, W., Tao, W.Q., 2009. Studies of air-flow and temperature fields inside a passenger compartment for improving thermal comfort and saving energy. Part II: Simulation results and discussion. Appl. Therm. Eng. 29, 2028–2036. doi:

Zhu, S., Demokritou, P., Spengler, J., 2010. Experimental and numerical investigation of micro-environmental conditions in public transportation buses. Build. Environ. 45, 2077–2088. doi:

Citations in Crossref