Using heated surfaces inside an electric car as a heat source can cut the energy needed to heat the cabin by up to 13% and increase the range by 5%. This is shown in a big project funded by the EU, which Ford is now using to ensure that future electric car models have the best range possible. The car's air conditioning can blow hot air into the passenger compartment, or its interior surfaces can be heated, directly contacting the driver and passengers and radiating heat toward them.
Everyone knows that the temperature inside drops quickly when a window or door is opened when it is cold outside. This is especially true for people who drive vans and have to make many deliveries since the air conditioner's cool air quickly leaves the passenger area. But hot surfaces in the car stay warm, which means less energy is used to heat the car. It also saves money and makes the trip more environmentally friendly.
In a test, a heated armrest, heated floor mats, heated door panels, heated sun visors, and a panel under the steering wheel were added to a Ford E-Transit electric van. The electric van was then used to deliver goods over 350 km, which was a longer trip. All of this took place in and around Cologne, Germany. Testing was done in both winter and summer, on dry and wet roads, as well as when it was raining hard, and there was a lot of wind. This was done to show how often the popular electric van is used as much as possible.
The test results showed that using the heated panels to keep the cabin warm used 13% less energy than using a regular air conditioner. The electric car could have about 5% more range with standard charging. Overall, the energy savings add several hundred kilometers to the car's range yearly.
Ford wants to make 600,000 electric cars worldwide by 2023 and 2 million annually by 2026. They put a lot of effort into saving energy, which helps them go farther. Heat exchangers, battery cooling systems, and eco-routing are some technologies being worked on. Heat exchangers use extra heat from the electric powertrain to heat the passenger area and batteries (where the most energy-saving route between two destinations is planned.)
Ford's new electric cars will have many advanced features, such as a steam-powered heat pump. The driver's area of the Ford E-Transit Custom is the first electric car to use this technology to heat and cool it. The new system, which comes standard on the Ford E-Transit Custom, was made to save more energy and give the electric car a longer range.
The EU is paying for the CEVOLVER project, which is similar to Ford's tests of how electric cars can use less energy, such as by using lighting to make the cabin feel warmer or colder than it really is.
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