Electric Vehicle Heater
Topic: Electric Vehicle Heater
Electric Vehicle Heater
Winter adds an extra layer of uncertainty for electric vehicle owners. What will my price range be? What will my car’s performance be in the snow and ice?
Is it possible to keep my heater on and still make it home? The author of the Electric Car Guide, Michael Boxwell, answers some essential questions.
Since 2010, I’ve been driving electric cars and working with several manufacturers on electric vehicle development. How do automobiles perform in the winter? This is one of the most often requested questions.
Fortunately, driving an electric car in the winter is not as dangerous as you may believe. Even though the automobile’s total range is limited, the smooth electric motor makes driving an electric car easier and, in many cases, safer. Furthermore, most electric cars offer a pre-heat feature that keeps you warm and comfortable from the time you step behind the wheel.
Of course, driving in the cold may be dangerous in any vehicle. The standard driving advice for conventional automobiles applies:
- Plan your route.
- Check the weather forecast before leaving.
- Bring a de-icer and a windscreen scraper.
When driving, take your time and anticipate dangers at every turn. Winter tyres are a sensible investment for any vehicle, as they provide enhanced grip and reduced tyre wear in cold weather.
In the snow and ice, driving is a challenge.
An electric automobile has a distinct advantage when driving in snow and ice. You’re significantly less likely to slip and slide when accelerating because there are no gears, and the engine is ultra-smooth.
Many electric cars have thin eco tyres that can help with grip on compacted snow.
With an electric car, it is quite easy to pull away and minimise wheel spin due to the power characteristics of the electric motor. Release the handbrake and softly press down on the accelerator, and the car will normally pull away with minimal effort due to the seamless power delivery.
Regenerative braking, in which the motor gradually slows the car and uses the action of the wheels to recharge the batteries, can enable significantly smoother and safer braking for electric car users.
Regenerative braking slows a car in different ways, depending on the model. Simply taking your foot off the accelerator in a BMW i3 or Mitsubishi i-MiEV, for example, will start regenerative braking, gently slowing the car down to a walking pace before applying the brakes to bring the car to a halt. Regenerative braking is activated on the Nissan LEAF by gently pressing the brake pedal.
Because the motor is used for both acceleration and braking, the car’s overall balance is maintained. This is a huge advantage when driving on ice or at a sluggish speed. Regenerative braking lowers the risk of skidding or sliding, as well as losing control of the vehicle. Braking distances are comparable to those of other cars braking softly in tricky situations.
What effect does this have on the range?
The range of most electric automobiles decreases when the temperature drops. Not only is in-car heating and lighting being used more frequently, but the batteries themselves are not performing as well. According to owners, in sub-zero temperatures, the range can decline by 30-40% compared to the ideal range in the summer.
Independent real-world tests are utilising a Nissan LEAF and a Mitsubishi i-MiEV for the 2015 edition of The Electric Car Guide back this up. During the winter of 2012-2013, I conducted a series of driving tests on established routes, which I repeated during the summer of 2013. Individual examinations were conducted for the city centre, extra-urban, cross-country, and highway driving.
When driving the Nissan LEAF at an average ambient temperature of 21°c, I measured an average range of 86.75 miles (139.92km). When the temperature plummeted to -7°C, the range dropped to 67.02 miles (108 kilometres) without cabin heating, and 53.29 miles (85.96 kilometres) with it turned on.
In the summer, with an average ambient temperature of 22°c, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV had an average range of 78.25 miles (126.21km). When the temperature plummeted to -8°C, the range dropped to 53.39 miles (86.11 kilometres) without cabin heating and 42.88 miles (69.16 kilometres) with it.
While this is a significant reduction in range, the remaining range is still far greater than the average daily driving distance. With an average car journey of 612 miles in the UK and an average daily distance of 22 miles, an electric car can still serve its purpose even in the dead of winter.
The days of needing a big coat and gloves to keep warm in a G-Wiz in the dead of winter are thankfully over. Even in the coldest weather, modern electric automobiles include powerful electric cabin heaters that quickly warm the interior. However, this comes at a price: the cabin heater is the most significant drain on the batteries after the motor.
Fortunately, you don’t have to choose between range and staying warm. Pre-heating is a technology in most electric automobiles that allows you to warm up the cabin while the car is still plugged in. You may turn on pre-heat by pushing a remote button on your key fob or, more typically, by launching an app on your mobile phone, depending on the car you have. When you get to your car, the screen is defrosted, the interior is heated, and you’re ready to drive in comfort, using significantly less of your charge to keep the temperature in the cabin at a comfortable level.
Time to charge
The time it takes to charge batteries rises when they are cold. Overnight charging can take an hour or two longer to fully charge the batteries, while rapid charging at a motorway service station can take up to 45 minutes instead of 30.
Many electric car owners take advantage of every opportunity to plug their cars in during the cold months, both at home and at public charging stations, due to the lower range and the possibility of pre-heating the car upon their return. Opportunity charging is a primarily psychological benefit for owners in normal day-to-day driving, but at least they know the car is there whenever they need it.
When the weather turns bitterly cold
I’ve driven electric cars at temperatures as low as -18°C during vehicle development testing, but many owners have driven them at even lower temperatures.
Surprisingly, Norway is one of the largest electric vehicles markets. The Nissan LEAF, Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Tesla Model S, and BMW i3 consistently ranks among the top 10 best-selling vehicles each month.
According to research conducted by one car manufacturer in 2010, Norwegian electric car owners prefer to plug their cars in whenever possible and utilise the pre-heat option to keep their vehicles warm. They are more inclined to park their cars in garages overnight to avoid the effects of the bitter cold, but they generally drive and travel the same daily distance as drivers in the United Kingdom.
Overall, if driving an electric car is a viable option for you during the summer, it is also viable throughout the winter. The power characteristics of an electric motor, along with regenerative braking, can make driving in inclement weather safer and easier than driving in a conventional automobile. At the same time, the pre-heat feature ensures your comfort behind the wheel.
The Electric Car Guide’s Background
The Electric Car Guide, the only book of its kind on the market, has been considerably updated for 2015.
The practical consequences of owning and driving electric automobiles are explored in this book:
- The purchasing and operating expenses
- Extensive explanations of the many car models available
- A guide to buying secondhand electric cars
It also looks at the environmental ramifications, including some unique real world’ fuel economy data compared to cars using combustion engines.
The book is an important handbook for anyone interested in owning an electric car, with an introduction by electric car enthusiast, comedy actor and presenter Robert Llewellyn and interactive links to the author’s website.
Electric Vehicle Heater
Heating for electric vehicles that is both efficient and effective
If you don’t want to freeze in an electric car, you’ll have to make some sacrifices, as heating consumes a significant amount of electricity. The IAA will include a demo model of a very energy-efficient heating system for electric automobiles developed by Fraunhofer researchers: a coated screen that creates a broad, radiant heat.
Electric car owners now have still another incentive to enjoy the summer: the vehicle’s range decreases dramatically in the winter due to the additional energy used by the heating system.
Compared to traditional passenger vehicles, which emit more than enough engine heat to heat the interior, electric automobiles produce almost no heat. There is a need for an additional electric heater.
The same battery that powers the engine also supplies power to this device. “In the worst-case scenario,” Serhat Sahakalkan, project manager at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA in Stuttgart, explains, “you can only travel half the customary distance with the car.”
Researchers at the IPA have created a film-based panel heater that quickly offers comfortable warmth in electric automobiles and is more effective than previous electric heaters, especially on short travels.
The heating concept is based on a sheet with conductive carbon nanotubes deposited on it (CNTs). The researchers do this by spraying a very thin coating of CNT dispersion on the surface.
“The film is bonded to the inner door trim and provides a comforting warmth in the armrest area in a very short time,” adds Sahakalkan. The Joule principle governs how the heater works: when electricity passes through the film, it encounters a natural resistance between the individual nanoparticles. Heat is produced as a result of these “collisions.”
The use of a very thin coating saves energy and money.
This principle is also employed in conventional electric resistance warmers like those seen in electric automobiles. Copper wire, for example, is commonly used as a conductive material and is embedded in silicone mats.
The Stuttgart researchers’ solution, on the other hand, has significant advantages: While current copper wire heaters are quite “bulky” and take up a lot of installation area, the film heater is made up of a thin layer of conductive material that is only a few micrometres thick.
Because of its lightweight, it may be applied to a wide range of surfaces and adds to energy and cost savings. The generated heat is directly discharged into the environment because the CNTs have minimal heat storage capacity.
In contrast to the wire-based variation, heat is evenly dispersed across the whole surface of the film here, increasing efficiency significantly. The material cools down quickly when the driver turns off the heating.
“These quick response times are great for short distances like city visits,” says Sahakalkan. The user can adjust the desired heating output indefinitely. Isolated flaws do not affect functionality. Even tiny metal breakage in wire-based heating systems, for example, might cause failure.
The researchers cut the film into small modules and glued them to the arched door trim in portions to apply it evenly to the arched door trim: “At the curvatures, minor creases appear, altering the electrode spacing.
Even heat dispersion would then be impossible to achieve “, says the scientist. In the long run, the Stuttgart experts want to simplify the process even more by spraying the CNT dispersion directly onto the vehicle components.
With this, manufacturing would be more affordable than wire-based alternatives, says Sahakalkan. The prototype of the film warmer will be on show at the IAA in Frankfurt in September. The trade show will run from September 17th through September 27th, with the press day on September 15th and 16th.