Volvo Car Corporation recently announced it is adding ethanol-powered heaters to its Volvo C30 electric vehicles. Cold weather can be especially troublesome for electric vehicles and using the EV battery for cabin heat can also decrease the vehicle’s range.
Director of Volvo Cars’ Special Vehicles Lennart Stegland said, "We must ensure that the C30 Electric performs as intended when driving, parking and charging in a variety of conditions, from normal to very cold or hot. Northern Sweden is the perfect place to do sub-zero temperature testing."
According to the company press release, the Volvo C30 is equipped with three independent climate control systems:
- One system supplies passengers with heating and cooling.
- One system cools or warms the battery pack.
- One system cools the electric motor and power electronics with a water-cooled system.
The Swedish-based company is no stranger to harsh winters. The company performed over 200 tests on its electric vehicles. One test involved placing the C30 in a “cold box,” a trailer-type enclosure set at minus 25 degrees. According to the company, it took about three minutes to heat the compartment to a “comfortable” temperature.
The cleaner bio-ethanol heating system will not only keep occupants warm and toasty, but will not compromise battery driving range. The 14.5 liter tank will provide 30 hours of heat on its highest setting. While ethanol is set as the default, drivers are also able to use battery-powered immersion heaters in case of low ethanol supply or shorter distance trips. All of the company’s electric vehicles will be fitted with the bio-ethanol heating system.
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