The air cond interior of the Mercedez Benz

Before the invention of the air conditioner, we had several ways to make ourselves cooler. The art of making ourselves cooler had been started from the ancient time starting from the Chinese emperor dynasty period. In 2nd centuries a Chinese inventor Dinh Huan from the Han Dynasty invented a rotary fan to make the emperor cooler where the fan had seven wheels and manually powered by the prisoner during this time. Another Chinese emperor Xuan Zong from Tang Dynasty had the Cool Hall or in Chinese called as Liang Tian built in the Imperial Palace which is basically a water powered fan wheel combined with the rising set of streams from the fountain water.

Tang Dynasty Emperor Xuan Zong

In the western countries where they are 4 seasons in the 17th centuries, they will make themselves cooler by using the snow and ice. With the advancement of the chemistry in the 19th century, the first large scale electric powered air conditioner had been invented in 1902 by American Willis Carrier, the founder of Carrier air conditioner. But only in 1933, a car company in New York had offered the first installation of the air conditioner in the car but unfortunately, it was for the limousine and luxury car at that time. An American automobile manufacturer Packard becomes the first automobile manufacturer to offer the air conditioner unit in their car but due to several technical issues and the unaffordable post depression price as it cost US274 hence it was discontinued.

Willis Carrier

The first advanced air conditioner specially made for the car is made by Chrysler in their Chrysler Imperial model in 1953 and called it as Airtemp. It was so advanced and ahead of its time as it had a single switch on the dashboard marked with the low, medium and high setting and able to quickly cool the car and its passenger and at some time reducing the humidity, dust, and tobacco smell in the car. Six years later in 1959, another American automobile manufacturer which had been defunct Nash had become the first American automobile to introduced integrated heating, ventilator, an air conditioner system for a car in their Nash Ambassador model and called their air conditioner system as “All Weather Eye”.

Currently, most cars have an air conditioner system called as Climate Control and the pioneer of this system started from Cadillac and they had called it as Cadillac Comfort Control which had the automatic heating and cooling system. The air conditioner later becomes the important part in the car for the passenger and driver comfort as this is the only method to cool themselves while they are driving. Unfortunately, the air conditioner had some discomfort for the driver and passenger as they need to adjust manually the air conditioner according to the temperature outside.

Then come the air conditioner setting that also can be called as the Smart Air Conditioner system, the Climate Control air conditioner. What is the meaning of Climate Control in the car air conditioner? In the setup of the Climate Control, the drivers do not need to adjust the speed manually and with some complex algorithm and computerized system, the temperature will adjust accordingly to the user setting regardless of the speed and outside temp. Let say, the driver had set the air conditioner temperature to 20C, the Climate Control will use the computerized system to adjust the fan of the air conditioner accordingly to the user setting of 20C even though the outside temp is hot or cold.

Another issue had been raised on the air conditioner where they will be disagreement between the passenger and driver on setting the air conditioner where the driver prefers colder temperature and the passenger may prefer mild temperature or no air conditioner at all and a disagreement can happen as during this time it has only one temperature setting that needs to be shared by all the driver and passengers. However, this issue had been resolved with the introduction of the dual zone air conditioner. In the dual zone air conditioner, the passenger and the driver can set a different temperature for both of them. The dual zone air conditioner can be set for the driver and the front passenger and for the car that had a rear air conditioner vent, it can be set for the driver and the back passenger and in this setting, the front passenger and the driver will use the same temperature.

A dual zone air conditioner in  Hyundai Sonate

With the introduction of the rear air conditioner vent, come another setting where it was called as Triple Zone, TriZone or Three Zone. In this air conditioner system, the driver, front passenger, and the back passenger can have a different temperature setting. In the high-end luxury car like the Mercedez Benz S Class, Audi A8, Volkswagen Phaeton, and others it can have 4 zones where the driver, front passenger, right back passenger and left back passenger can have a different air conditioner temperature for each of them.

The air conditioner had been improved to provide a comfort for the user and for now they are no any major changes on the way the air conditioner works. The only changes that will be made to the air conditioner are the use of the air conditioner gas where presently they are using the R134A gas but on the reason to be  more environmentally friendly and saving the planet, it will be phased out gradually by the R1234yt gas which is eco-friendlier and can reduce the greenhouse effect on the planet. Apart from the gas, they are no major changes to the air conditioner.

From the Chinese emperor dynasties in the 2nd centuries, we will find many ways to make ourselves regardless of the situation. The only parts that make us cooler in the car are the air conditioner hence any malfunction it can provide a discomfort for the user with our hot weather hence it is better to service the air conditioner as much as possible to ensure that it will provide the one function that it had made to make ourselves cooler. The air conditioner is an invention that will be needed to make ourselves cooler while we are driving.


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