Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering (to 2013)

First Advisor

John Patten, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

Second Advisor

Ho Sung Lee


Hybrid vehicle, electric vehicle, HVAC


The objective of the proposed project is to convert the current heating ventilating and air conditioning system, or HVAC system, on the plug in hybrid Toyota Prius into a completely electric system. As the vehicle is now, the gas engine is required to provide heat loss for the forced air heating system on extremely cold days. The data, which has been gathered over several years, shows a drop in MPG equivalence from approximately 100-120 MPG on ideal days (70° F) to about 50 MPG equivalence on cooler days. This problem can be solved by increasing the effectiveness of the HVAC system as well as including preheating components to keep the engine and cabin from reaching low temperatures. Once the given data was completely analyzed the most effective solution was and will be implemented arid experimental testing will be performed in order to determine the final effects on the system. A final solution for the proposed problem had to provide a more effective HVAC system which does not require the gas engine for heating alone. By accomplishing this, the design team hopes to increase the MPG equivalence of the hybrid Toyota Prius during the cooler days of the year. As a side effect, this increase in heating capacity will also provide better comfort for the passengers in the car. Using the experimental testing data gathered as well as computational data, the design team can determine and show that the proposed solution for the problem does in fact improve MPG equivalence.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access