Hybrid Car Aircon System
Whilst there are many similarities in the servicing process for conventional engine and hybrid car aircon systems, there are still some differences.
- High Voltage Battery: One added complexity is the higher voltage, ranging from 14 to more than 200 volts. As such, additional safety precautions are a must before servicing.
- Components: The earlier hybrid cars such as the Toyota Prius was operated using a conventional belt-driven scroll compressor. However, most hybrid cars nowadays have shifted to an electric compressor that uses high voltage AC. This high voltage AC is supplied through a small inverter which either inverts the DC battery power into the AC, or the electric motor is built inside the compressor housing system and powered by the AC Voltage via the vehicle’s main power supply.
- Type of Oil Used: Typically PAG oils are used for conventional A/C Systems, but hybrid vehicles need a specific type of polyolester oil, better known as POE. The compressor is lubricated using this oil to protect its electrical wirings.
Points to Note About A/C on Hybrid Vehicles
R-1234yf and R-134a are some of the hybrid aircon systems prevalent in the market. There are some differences in their components/design, flammability/safety, and operating pressure/temperature differences. Electric compressors are used in hybrid car aircon systems. This means there is a built-in motor, that can operate even when the engine stops. This improves fuel efficiency, as the aircon can continue to operate even when the engine is in idle mode.
In the servicing or repair process, there are some vehicle specific trouble codes for hybrids. Do check the original manual to understand what this means. The use of a scan tool would be best, to obtain and check these trouble codes. If you are unsure, it is always best to go to a workshop for advice, especially in view of the high voltage system, for your proper safety.
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My car aircon was not functioning and I was not sure what the cause was. I initially brought my car to the dealer workshop and was told the compressor is down. But the price quoted for the compressor replacement was so high. I then gave ECV Car Service Singapore a call, and the price turned out to be much lower, and quality of service good. Thumbs up! - Joel Tan, Bukit Batok
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