| 3:38 PM EST

Electric Heat for Electric Vehicles



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Here in the metro Detroit area, the mornings are sufficiently brisk that there is a layer of frost on the glass of the vehicle parked in the driveway. So it is a matter of starting up the car, cranking the fan up, dialing up the heat control, hitting defrost, and activating the button for the rear-window defroster. Not exactly an environmentally sound approach, but this is supplemented by pulling out the scraper and going at the windows.

Imagine what would happen if that was an electric vehicle (EV). Unlike the good, old internal combustion engine (ICE) under the hood, there is no waste heat generated by the EV.


A solution developed by BERU AG and BMW that’s currently being piloted in about 500 MINI E vehicles rolling around in the U.S. and a few European countries is a special high-power ceramic register with electronic control. The cabin heater is installed in place of the water heat exchanger and conventional PTC auxiliary heater in the HVAC system. It is connected to the vehicle’s 400-v electrical system. It has a heat output of 3,000 watts, compared with the 500 to 2,000 watts that BERU’s cabin heaters for ICE-powered vehicles typically produce.

According to the folks at BERU, there is also applicability of the new cabin heater to hybrids.

On a cold winter (or even fall) morning, warm is good.