Wölfle setzt auf Wärmepumpen Pressebericht - Schwäbische Zeitung

Electrification is also progressing in commercial vehicles. Why an Ochsenhausen company is now focusing on new solutions for heating and cooling systems.

Heat pumps not only heat houses, but also the interiors of vehicles. The Wölfle company from Ochsenhausen uses this technology for energy-efficient air conditioning systems for commercial vehicles. Everything that happens in the automotive industry also arrives in the non-automotive industry with a time lag.

Managing Director Thomas Wolfle

In an interview with the "Schwäbische Zeitung", Managing Director Thomas Wölfle explains why this is more sustainable and how the thermal management works.

Electrification is coming

The automotive industry is changing, the combustion engine will soon be obsolete. Destiny may also befall commercial vehicles. The supplier Wölfle is preparing for this. "Everything that happens in the automotive industry also arrives in the non-automotive industry with a time lag," says the managing director. The electrification of compact commercial vehicles such as municipal vehicles, excavators and tractors has already begun.

System should put less strain on battery power

With around 850 employees worldwide, the medium-sized company develops and produces cooling and heating systems for vehicle interiors. To this end, he has developed a thermal management system based on a heat pump, which uses as little energy as possible on the e-vehicle's battery capacity, but at the same time optimally cools or heats the vehicle interior.

"The air conditioning and heating systems of battery-operated vehicles usually run at the expense of the battery and thus also the range if the system is operated purely electrically," explains Wölfle the crux of electric motors.
His technology not only generates energy-efficient heat using a heat pump, but also distributes the energy flows "intelligently". All heat sources and sinks are networked with each other in a complex cycle. In winter, for example, the waste heat from the electric motor is used to heat the passenger compartment.

The refrigerator principle

The principle is comparable to a refrigerator, explains the managing director. “This generates cold inside, while escaping energy is transported into the living space in the form of heat. The same applies to thermal management. Using controllable coolant pumps and valves, heat and cold is absorbed where it occurs and transported to where it is needed." With the heart, the heat pump, a tractor, for example, manages to work economically and sustainably with low energy costs, because resources are saved.

From auto repair shop to developer

Managing Director Thomas Wölfle took over his father's company 15 years ago. The was founded in 1972 and initially run as a car workshop, and has proven itself over 50 years as a technology developer for cooling and heating systems.

Wölfle has eight locations worldwide. In addition to the headquarters in Ochsenhausen, where driver's cabs are welded and electrical control units and heating and air conditioning systems are produced, there are branches in Morocco, the Czech Republic, Italy, France, America and China.

Source: Schwäbische Zeitung May 17, 2023 / image source: Milena Sontheim