Modine Targets Off-Highway EVs with ‘Plug-And-Play’ BTMS

The thermal-management supplier is integrating its latest system with a liquid-cooled condenser in Komatsu electric excavators and Bosch Rexroth’s eLion portfolio.

Highlighted components represent Modine EVantage (green), which is a liquid-cooled thermal management system inside Bosch Rexroth’s eLION portfolio (blue). (Bosch Rexroth AG)

Suppliers increasingly are developing and integrating thermal-management solutions to meet the specific demands of off-highway EVs. Deutronic, for instance, develops technology to meet the constantly rising power requirements in the segment. Modine is another good example. The U.S.-based manufacturer in 2023 launched a new edition of its EVantage battery thermal-management system with a liquid-cooled condenser (L-CON BTMS) that combines proprietary heat-exchanger technology with smart controls and electronics. The system is designed to withstand harsh environments found in mining, construction, agriculture, specialty and transportation applications, according to Mike Kis, director of Advanced Thermal Systems at Modine.

Komatsu integrates Modine’s EVantage L-CON BTMS in its new 20-ton electric excavators. (Komatsu)

“The L-CON BTMS gives our customers tremendous flexibility to meet their performance demands and space constraints and deliver industry-leading reliability for off-highway EVs,” Kis said in a statement. “EV battery-cooling systems used in particularly dirty environments have historically been vulnerable to clogging from debris, and this new design provides significant mitigation.”

The master smart control system of the L-CON BTMS uses the battery pack or coolant temperature, automatically selecting the mode of operation to meet the batteries’ heating and cooling needs. The coolant temperature sensor adjusts the coolant flow. (Modine)

Modine’s L-CON BTMS features plug-and-play integration and is adaptable to fit into diverse chassis layouts. It regulates EV battery temperature using both heating and cooling circuits, and the liquid-cooled condenser allows the BTMS to be positioned anywhere on the chassis. Coupled with a master thermal-control unit running proprietary firmware, the L-CON BTMS can optimize the temperature range for an entire bank of batteries with a single unit, according to Gina Maria Bonini, VP and general manager of Modine’s Advanced Thermal Systems.

EVantage plug-and-play systems include all necessary heat exchangers, smart electric products, wiring and hoses, as well as a master controller and tailored firmware, to provide complete operation upon delivery. (Modine)

“In commercial EVs, two main areas require careful consideration for thermal management – the battery pack and the power electronics [i.e., the inverter, converter and traction motor],” Bonini said in a post on the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC) website. “The battery pack needs to be maintained in a narrow temperature window — typically 77° to 95°C – during charging and vehicle operation to optimize the performance of the battery, extending vehicle range, reducing time to charge and minimizing long-term degradation of the battery.”

“Typically, as vehicle class increases, the vehicle will have a larger battery pack and require more torque, which increases the cooling capacity required for both the battery pack and power electronics,” she added. The EVantage suite includes an Electronics Cooling Package (ECP) to cool down the power electronics on the vehicle.

Modine was selected to integrate its EVantage L-CON BTMS in Komatsu’s new 20-ton electric excavators that feature a 123-kW electric powertrain and a 451-kWh lithium-ion battery pack supplied by California-based Proterra. Komatsu introduced the PC200LCE-11 and 210LCE-11 as rental machines in the Japanese and European markets beginning in late 2023. The manufacturer plans to expand the electric models in Asia, North America and Australia.

In January 2024, Bosch Rexroth and Modine announced a partnership to integrate EVantage thermal-management systems with Bosch Rexroth’s eLion products for electrified off-highway machinery worldwide. The liquid-cooled thermal-management system from Modine is said to work seamlessly with the eLion portfolio — including a permanent-magnet synchronous electric motor, electric inverter, onboard charger, DC-DC converter, power-distribution unit, high-voltage cables with plugs, and a controller — to maintain optimal battery temperature, efficiently cool power electronics and ensure passenger comfort.

“With the increased shift towards electrified mobile machines, there’s a parallel need to manage the thermal output of those crucial components efficiently,” said Zifan Liu, Bosch Rexroth mobile hydraulics system engineer. “This partnership represents a collaborative effort to effectively address that issue and present end-users with the most productive machine possible.”

Modine announced in October 2023 that it was expanding production of its EVantage thermal-management systems to Europe. Beginning in 2024, the manufacturer’s facility in Pontevico, Italy, is producing BTMS and electronics cooling systems for heavy-duty, commercial and specialty vehicle manufacturers across Europe.