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Pre heating EV cabin in winter

Posted: Nov 04 2017 1:13pm
by craneplaneguy
I just bought a small electric heater, how small? Would you believe 250 watts?! Walmart, $10.00! It's like a miniature regular electric space heater, UL rated, with a tip over switch and everything. I always thought most small electric heaters were 750-1500 watts, and didn't know anyone made them this tiny, and so inexpensive. My usage will be when I park the PluginPrius in my unheated garage and I know it's going to be well below freezing. On the drivers floor right under the steering wheel.

One drawback to a very efficient car is less waste heat to get things comfortable, and since I have a surplus of free energy (over 10,000 KWH right now shown as a credit on my latest utility bill, due to a large grid tie system) I will probably just leave it on all night, assuming I have an early morning departure planned. Yes I have heated seats, and they really help while the ICE warms up enough to put out heat, but everything else is ice cold. I need to find ways to burn up some of my surplus power anyway, and getting into a warm cabin first thing seems like a good way to do it. It will be interesting to see how 250 watts deals with the heat loss of a car interior, for some reason I'm thinking it will be adequate.

[moderator edit to fix title]

Re: pre heating

Posted: Nov 04 2017 6:05pm
by spinningmagnets
The comfort of the driver when you need to just "get in and go" is nice, but...the real issue for me is the windshield defroster. There has to be at least three times I almost got in an accident driving on the highway with a frozen car, wiping the inside of the windshield with a sock, barely able to see anything.

I also drove a snowplow on occasion (10-ton dump truck with plow on front), and they all had an engine warmer, since they were diesel (if cold, they wouldn't start). More than once one of the temporary drivers would start and drive away without unplugging the 110V AC plug-and-socket. They eventually installed panel-mount plugs on the cab, right next to the part of the drivers door where the key goes in to open it.

Re: Pre heating EV cabin in winter

Posted: Nov 13 2017 12:03am
by markz
I used to have a small in the cab heater I bought from Canadian Tire, just find a way to route the cable through the firewall, and safely to the front grill, plug it in and its on. I have no idea what wattage it was
12V 13A - ... 3407p.html
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What about using a timer? ... 2041556572

Re: Pre heating EV cabin in winter

Posted: Nov 15 2017 1:41pm
by markz
If you want more heat, then there are in cab heaters for big rig trucks. They are physically bigger, either 100% electric or hooked up to radiator. I briefly looked at them for alternative home heating.

Re: Pre heating EV cabin in winter

Posted: Nov 15 2017 9:01pm
by Doctorbass
I pre heat my Volt during winter season. That's pretty common of all Volt owners that live in area where winter is cold.

This not just heat the cabin but also the battery witch improove his energy output


Re: Pre heating EV cabin in winter

Posted: Nov 16 2017 12:02am
by craneplaneguy
In my crane's operator cab, I have a Espar diesel heater. Marketed and used mostly by truckers for heating their sleepers without having to idle the engine. They have an outside air intake, are quiet, have a thermostat, and amazingly frugal on fuel. The number .07 GPH on high comes to mind, seriously efficient, I go weeks at a time in the winter before needing to refill the 3 gallon tank. I absolutely love mine, and I would give serious thought to putting one in a pure e car, small cabin, camper, whatever.

Re: Pre heating EV cabin in winter

Posted: Nov 16 2017 5:24am
by markz
On LOW HEAT, this little heater uses as little as 0.02 gallons per hour!