Have you recently purchased an electric car and are wondering how it heats passengers? Or are you considering switching to electric and want to know how it will keep you and your passengers warm on colder days?
Or maybe you are just curious about how electric cars work and make heat? Whatever your reason might be, you have come to the right place!
We all find ourselves wanting to know more about the products we buy and how they work, and our cars are no exception. Not only does it help us better understand how they operate, but it helps us identify when there is a problem and take them in for repairs before they become a bigger problem. After all, none of us want to be hit with hefty repair bills, do we?
But how do we find out how electric cars make heat for heating passengers? Electric cars are still a fairly new development, meaning not all of us fully understand how they work. It makes finding the information you need challenging and often leaves you stressed with a headache.
Well, no more! Today we are here with all the answers you will need! Keep reading to discover how electric cars make heat for heating passengers and become electric car experts.
How Do Electric Cars Make Heat?
Let’s get straight into it! Electric cars make heat in a very different way from gasoline cars. The engine exhaust heat is re-used in a regular gasoline car to provide warm air for the heater. Electric cars don’t have that option and need to get their heat from elsewhere.
How they do this varies from brand to brand, so it’s always best to speak to the manufacturer, dealership or check the specifications online to find out exactly how each electric car generates heat. The information is usually fairly easy to find, so you won’t need to spend days scrolling!
Typically, conventional air-conditioning systems are used. These require an electrical heater and work similarly to AC units in regular cars. The electrical heater and other components will generate heat and distribute it across the car, keeping you and your passengers warm. But the downside to this is that the use of the heater relates to the power consumption of the car.
What does that mean for you? It means that your electric car will need to be charged more often. The battery will be depleted quickly, and you will get less driving range than if you didn’t run the heater. While companies are working on ways around this, speak to the dealership or manufacturer before purchasing an electric car. Ask them what heating system the car uses and how much electricity it takes. This can help you see how much it will impact your driving time and make an informed decision.
But is there an alternative to conventional air conditioning systems?
Nissan’s Cabin Heater
You might have heard about the Nissan Leaf, but if you haven’t, it’s quickly becoming a favorite for those seeking an affordable electric car. Nissan’s Leaf is the first mass-produced vehicle in the world to use a heat-pump cabin heater instead of the conventional heaters.
The heat pump works slightly differently than conventional air-conditioning and can be a fantastic way to avoid energy depletion while driving and heating the car. It heats the cabin using the difference in temperature between a refrigerant and the outside air. What does this do? It allows you to heat the car cabin with less power than other methods and keep you warm.
When in use, the external capacitor absorbs heat from the atmosphere outside of the vehicle. The heat from the outside air is transferred to the cabin, using only the power of the consumption pump. That means far less energy is being used, taking any pressure off your battery and allowing you to drive for longer.
It’s considered a more efficient way to heat your car with the heat exchange running on lower power consumptions than conventional air conditioning systems. You set the temperature, and the pump gets to work heating and cooling as you see fit. You can also switch between the cooler and heater easily, with the compression rotation adjusting to accommodate.
Heating your car for yourself and passengers, and the heat should kick in fairly quickly, meaning you aren’t left shivering at the steering wheel. There is also the option to add heated seats and a steering wheel to your Nissan, which should help the car feel warmer than before. We would recommend looking into this if you live in a colder climate.
It will make driving more enjoyable for you, especially in the mornings and evenings when it can be the coldest. Speak to your dealership about these options, as they can provide accurate pricing and additional recommendations where needed.
What About Other Electric Cars?
Other electric cars, like Teslas, use a resistive heating element that helps warm the cabin and heat yourself and passengers. How it works is similar to electric space heaters or heated seats and is designed to solve range issues and provide a warmer car in colder climates. On paper, the system seems to be almost 100% efficient, converting all of its energy consumed into heat, but it reduces the mileage owners saw from their vehicles.
Since then, Tesla has been working on and started using its heat pump that works similarly to Nissan’s pump. It can produce 3kW of thermal energy for every 1kW used, increasing its efficiency and allowing you to enjoy a far better range.
Owners also noted that they were warmer in colder climates too. As heating electric cars in colder climates have been an ongoing issue, it’s fantastic to see a method that could bring an end to the dilemma!
And just like that, we have come to the end of our heating journey today! As you can see, heating electric cars, especially in colder climates, has been an issue where we have seen owners cold or with reduced mileage. But the heat pumps used by Nissan and now Tesla look set to change that! They offer a more efficient way to heat your car and its passengers and are likely to be the future for electric cars.
Other brands have also started to use them, and before purchasing your electric car, we recommend speaking to your dealership about the heating system used to help you buy the most efficient electric car on the market.