Designing a glove box based on Peltier cooling

The overall aim of the JOSPEL project is the development of a novel energy efficient climate system, and one of the components in this system is new type of glove box that uses Peltier cells to generate the cooling effect.

Simoldes Plásticos – the plastic division of the Portuguese Simoldes Group – specialises in the development and production of thermoplastic injected parts, and they have also taken on the task of designing a new glove box for the JOSPEL project. The glove box will be integrated in the project’s test vehicles as part of the overall climate system that is being developed.

Considerations for a glove box design

When designing a new glove box for a car, there are many aspects to consider. First of all, the visual aspects are important, i.e. what grain, colour and shape should the box be, and what kind of surroundings does the box need to fit into. Here, it is important to make sure that everything matches in terms of flushes and gaps. Furthermore, it is necessary to consider impact requirements, the locking system, the acoustic insulation and the mechanical performance to make sure that the glove box will work seamlessly, even after repeated use.

Considering the JOSPEL project’s focus on energy optimization and the fact that the glove box will be installed in electric vehicles, there is of course also a lot of emphasis on weight reduction, and it is necessary to improve the efficiency of each component to further support the light weight of the vehicle, explains Sandra Melo and Martino Gioia from Simoldes Plásticos.

Naturally, with the inherent ‘green’ nature of electric vehicles, there is also a lot of focus on selecting sustainable and recyclable materials with natural compounds.
When all this has been taken into consideration, there is also the fact that each OEM (original equipment manufacturer) has their own specification requirements, but it is still necessary to design the box in a way that enables the best manufacturing for mass production but also takes the cost into account – e.g. in terms of equipment and assembly.

And of course, none of these considerations should affect the perceived quality and finishing of the glove box.

New technologies pose new challenges

As it has been made clear, a new glove box is not something you just make from one second to the next. And to add to the already described considerations, the goal of the JOSPEL project is to improve the efficiency of the glove box by integrating the JOSPEL cooling system based on the Peltier effect – and to fit this technology in the very limited space that is available in the two test vehicles. Consequently, the JOSPEL glove box – which has room for three 0,5 liter water bottles – needs to be customized with thermal insulation and a brand new cooling system device, which must be optimized in terms of efficiency.

Adding to this challenge are the fixations for the glove box housing, which need to support the cooling system and the objects inside the box, while simultaneously supporting the silent nature of the electric car.

Knowing the kind of effort and consideration that goes into a car element that many take for granted, this author will definitely consider uttering an extra “ahhhh” when enjoying a bottle of cold water from a vehicle glove box.