ManufacturingOctober 7, 2021

How Do You Reduce EV Range Anxiety? Simulate Your Way to Efficient Cabin Comfort!

This blog was originally published in April 2019. Comfort is more than…
Adrien Mann

This blog was originally published in April 2019.

Comfort is more than just physical. Ask any would-be electric vehicle owner who is still holding off on purchasing one because of range anxiety: that distinctly uncomfortable feeling that your new vehicle might not make it from point A to point B due to limited battery life.

These fears have a basis in truth. According to studies, extremely cold weather can reduce EV range by more than 50%. Why? Traditional internal combustion engines generate waste heat under the hood, which vehicles can partially recover and use to heat up the cabin. But EVs must rely almost entirely on the battery alone to provide the energy needed to warm the cabin and make occupants comfortable – and the colder it is outside, the greater the draw on the battery, which can dramatically reduce battery power and vehicle range. A similar impact is observed with EVs in warmer conditions when energy must be drawn from the battery to cool the cabin.

Range anxiety can chill not only potential EV buyers – it could chill EV drivers, literally, if they avoid cranking the heat on the coldest days to preserve vehicle range, or if the climate control system is built to automatically shut down to preserve range. In our last blog series, we discussed how simulation helps OEMs design for more efficient vehicle cool-down on hot summer days. This blog will explore vehicle warm-up, and how OEMs can design electric vehicles to preserve battery life even in the coldest weather, when the battery must take on the added burden of keeping passengers comfortable.

Global Trends Heating Up the EV Market

In the face of increasing global demand to reduce fleet-wide emissions, along with growing competition in the EV space from traditional players and new market entrants alike, passenger vehicle OEMs are seeking new design solutions to improve cabin comfort without compromising EV range – especially in extreme weather.

Digital simulation with SIMULIA PowerFLOW offers a new way to evaluate climate system design and energy consumption together – well before physical testing begins – to ensure that potential issues with battery range, passenger comfort, or both, are resolved without costly rework and launch delays. Three benefits of digital simulation with PowerFLOW offer significant advantages over both physical testing and other digital methods. PowerFLOW helps engineers to:

  • Accurately capture the impact of cabin design on human thermal comfort,
  • Evaluate energy balance to discover and improve sources of energy loss and inefficiency, and
  • Simulate active climate systems: comfort-enhancing technologies that use less energy.

solutions for cabin comfort, engineers can design a cabin that ensures passengers will be comfortable when entering a vehicle and driving away in cold weather. Simulation re-creates real-world conditions, wherein a human in a comfortable environment gets into a vehicle that has been parked outdoors in cold weather for several hours. The time it takes to heat up the cabin and provide comfort to the human model(s) can then be accurately predicted, giving engineers the ability to determine if a design performs as expected in terms of comfort. Human body parts like back, thigh, and hands, which are in contact with the cold seat, experience severe discomfort and coldness initially after the human enters the vehicle. Using simulation to understand how much time it takes to attain a comfortable state for such uncomfortable parts, engineers can fine-tune the design, including the HVAC system controls, ensuring overall as well as local comfort for passengers while maintaining vehicle efficiency.

Want to connect with other Electric Vehicle experts and access our relevant resources? Visit the dedicated Electric Vehicles page in our SIMULIA Community to start exploring.


Nagarajan, V., Bhambare, K., Han, J. “Cabin Heat-up Simulation with Human Comfort Evaluation for Multiple Humans.” JSAE, 2017.

Mukutmoni, D., Han, J., Alajbegovic, A., Famibelle, S., Colibert, L. “Automotive Windshield Defrost Performance Evaluation Using a Simulation-Based Approach.” SAE-TMSS. October, 2013.

Bhambare, K., Nagarajan, V., Han, J., Filippova, O., Konstantinov, A., Kelly, J., Wang, K., Gu, X. “Defrosting Simulation of Front Windshield and Side Window Interior Surfaces in an Extreme Cold Climate.” 2015 SAE Thermal Management Systems Symposium, September 29 – October 1, 2015

SIMULIA offers an advanced simulation product portfolio, including AbaqusIsightfe-safeToscaSimpoe-MoldSIMPACKCST Studio SuiteXFlowPowerFLOW and more. The SIMULIA Community is the place to find the latest resources for SIMULIA software and to collaborate with other users. The key that unlocks the door of innovative thinking and knowledge building, the SIMULIA Community provides you with the tools you need to expand your knowledge, whenever and wherever.

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