Have you ever wondered when people invented air conditioning instead of external air conditioner for cars, such as sun visors, umbrellas or Venetian shades? It reminds you of a vacation set, but this was the reality before the actual AC!
This article will share the entire history of automotive air conditioning, starting from the first car with air conditioning and the early methods. We will find out when air conditioning was invented, who and what company introduced this marvel of technological progress, and the first car to have Air Conditioning installed.
By the end of this article, you will know the complete history of AC in the car, the timeline of air conditioning history, and even the future of air conditioners for cars, including global warming trends. Pretty exciting, right? Let’s get started!
It’s hard to imagine anything else but the vehicle air conditioners we know today. However, there was a time when car manufacturers used alternative methods of air conditioning.
Early Air Conditioning
Before natural air conditioning, car manufacturers used multiple cooling methods, such as attaching umbrellas, electric fans, evaporation of water, sun visors, and Venetian shades. However, this wasn’t even close to air conditioning the way we know it and somewhat effective. So, when was the first air conditioner made, at least relative to the modern ones?
When Was Air Conditioning Invented For Cars?
You may seem surprised, but a car air conditioner is considered necessary only in the modern world. In the 20th century, drivers used ridiculous for modern times methods to cool down. Until inventing an air cooler, it was tough to be a driver.
Who Invented Air Conditioning in Cars?
The names of the engineers that invented auto air conditioning are unknown. Still, we know that the first automobile AC systems for cars were developed by collaborating with Packard Motor company and Bishop and Babcock Co.
Ralph Peo, American Inventor who holds over 150 patents in the automobile industry, has registered a patent in 1935 as the “Air Cooling Unit for Automobile.” However, his relation to the first automotive AC is not proven.
The First Car with AC
The vintage air cooling systems weren’t efficient enough, so automobile companies started searching the modern air condition system. Finally, after many years of experiments and collaboration, companies invented the first car with AC.
Which Car Company Was the First to Offer Air Conditioning in its Cars?
The Packard was the first car manufacturer to offer air conditioning in its cars. After this, Packard and Cadillac continued their further experiments and development and introduced close to the classic air car cooler we know today.
What Was the First Car to Have Air Conditioning?
In collaboration with Packard Motor Cars, Bishop-Babcock Company offered the first air conditioning for cars in 1933. Unfortunately, the previous tries and inventions weren’t efficient and had different technologies that were ineffective.
Air Conditioning Timeline
1903 — Packard using a large umbrella for their Packard Model F coast-to-coast trip.
1921 — Invention of small electric fan installed inside the vehicle. It is still not cooling the air but just creates a breeze.
1930 — So-called “car cooler” that used evaporation of water to cool the air.
1933 — Invention of the first ac in the car by Packard and Bishop-Babcock.
1940 — The first car with air conditioning system invented by luxury car manufacturer Packard developed with the third-party manufacturer Bishop and Babcock Co., the first in history functioning car installed air cooler.
The previous air cooling systems like an external air conditioner and other equipment can’t be considered actual air conditioning the way we know it.
1953 — Chrysler Imperial produced modern automobile air conditioning that started mass production and gained commercial success.
1964 — Cadillac invented the first AC system for cars with a temperature control system. After invention, A/C for cars started developing much faster, and by the end of the 70s, over 60% of car owners installed a vehicle air conditioner.
The Future of Automotive AC
New automotive refrigerants are evolving every year and bring new systems of air cooling.
- Automotive HVAC systems control the climate and temperature of the vehicle’s cabin, and this system is constantly evolving.
- Hyundai develops three new AC technologies to maintain clean air in vehicles. This so-called “Multi-Air-Mode” uses multiple vents to create a pleasant environment with a gentle wind.
- The A/C systems affect global warming due to the tailpipe emissions and extra fuel burned. For this reason, new automotive refrigerant developments include the ejector cycle system evaporator and ACs without a compressor.
We are no longer surprised by air conditioning developments, but let’s hope technology will cause a new revolution that leaves us all speechless. So what else can bring us the future of automotive AC?
Global Warming Trends
Air conditioning in the modern world is considered the world’s biggest threat. As a result, all motor companies are trying to find the most ecological way to implement air conditioning in cars without increasing the tailpipe emissions.
Here are a few facts about mobile air conditioning:
- Air conditioners in passenger cars, buses, vans, etc., consume 2 million barrels of oil equivalent per day.
- Greenhouse gas emissions from mobile air conditioning stand at 420 million tonnes of CO2.
- Without further actions, mobile air conditioning energy consumption can rise over 5.7 Mboe/d by 2050.
- An efficient cooling scenario would improve this energy consumption to 2.8 Mboe/d and Greenhouse Gas Emissions reduced by 20%.
- Without any intervention, these numbers will rise to over 5.7 Mboe/d by 2050. Automotive HVAC systems control the climate and temperature of the vehicle’s cabin, and this system is constantly evolving.
The European government plans to create a policy limiting emissions from mobile air conditioning to improve this data. For this, regulations should include the emissions produced by air conditioning in existing fuel economy standards. Of course, we need further research to better estimate the impact, but some countries, such as Germany, are currently taking it very seriously and limiting A/Cs already.
Will this trend continue for other countries, despite the increased temperatures and heatwaves? It remains an open discussion for now. However, we know for sure that this policy implementation is a global warming trend that is crucial for the future of our planet.