I was having a discussion with some colleagues the other day about electric cars. They were saying me that one of the main issue with electric cars in cold climates is the energy used for heating the inside of the car. That made me think that perhaps the way to go would be to use a strategy similar to the one advocated by Paul in his article on energy savings with micro electric heaters. Perhaps the way to go would be to create heat bubbles around the occupants of the car instead of heating up the whole car.
Cars already have heated seats, why not have a heated stearing wheel and pedals?
That's how I survived commuting on a motorcycle year-round. Heated grips, coat, and boots. Used the coat in my car when its heater went out, too.
Heating a wheel has issues with rotating contacts, and you don't have enough contact with the pedals for good heat transfer--but those are just technical challenges. The concept is sound and one of the lightbulb moments--I should have thought of it.
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..or the plug-in 12v heated snowmobile suits, i've always pined for one, but it might not fly with the fashion conscious or the business commuter crowd
..defrosting windows with the built in elements in the glass is a good start, but i think you'd still need to be running fans anyway to clear the condensation and fog from the glass
it's also disappointing to get home from the grocery store with the fuit and veggies frosted and and wilting, so there might still be a need for some minimal base level of cab heating...
Around here most people start their trucks with remote control starters and then idle them for a good half an hour or more so they are like sauna's when they scurry across to them. I think it's a pretty big thing psychologically that helps people deal with winter. I don't know what you would do to temper that expectation. Maybe a mains electricty plug in pre-heater to get it warmed up a bit for the commute.
Some of the old volkswagon vehicles had a seperate gasoline heater rather than using engine heat. They were scary. But maybe a compromise cold-climate add-on would be a small propane or natural gas tank for the heater.
The heat bubble in vehicle is sort of an old idea made new. In the horse and wagon days people had metal boxes with upholstery on the outside. They would fill them with coals from the wood or coal stove, then set them down on the sleigh floorboards to rest their feet on. Big heavy blanket or calfskin draped over top of that that people could tuck over the seat and up to their chins and you had a nice heat bubble for cutter ride in to town. Come to think of it that would work for the home office too, if you had a fire for a bit in the morning.
Kari Gunnlaugsson wrote:defrosting windows with the built in elements in the glass is a good start, but i think you'd still need to be running fans anyway to clear the condensation and fog from the glass
I was thinking about that yesterday as I was driving in a snow storm and having the heater going pretty hard to keep the windows from fogging up. Perhaps the solution would be to create a heat bubble around the windows as well. It is already done with the back window in most cars. There must be a way to extend that to the other windows without having a wire running across the windshield.
The heat bubble in vehicle is sort of an old idea made new. In the horse and wagon days people had metal boxes with upholstery on the outside.
Good idea Kari, to use these coal boxes instead of the electric heaters as suggested by Paul to create the heat bubble. I think one could also use bricks that were placed close from a stove instead of the box. I can see myself siting at my desk wrapped in a blanket with my feet resting on a warm brick (or a coal box).