Yet another technology that could increase EV range, this time by heating and cooling the cabin more efficiently.
I saw this article in the Seattle Times today.
I introduced myself to the Renault Zoe at the Geneva Motor Show, which according to Renault stars four world-wide firsts. One of them is that they use a heat pump for heating as well as cooling the passenger cabin, which they say doubles the effect of heating (1 kWh of battery power required to produce 2 kWh of heat) and triples the effect of cooling. BTW, they claim a range of 210 km (130 mi) with a 20-something kWh battery -- but then again, the car is a sub compact. It still weighs 1600 kg (3500 lbs), 500 kg (1100 lbs) of which are attributed to the battery. (Disclaimer: I am quoting from memory. If you're interested, check Renault's website and post citable sources here.)
Hopefully this heat pump will be available in the next Leaf version, around 2015 or so.
But didn't the EV1 have a heat pump ? Maybe they mean world first in freely available cars...
I wonder if a heat pump would really cut it in a northern winter. If external air is -30°, the external coils/grid would have to be ?? -50° ??
No, it won't work well below 0 F (-18 C) or so. There should always be a resisitve heater as backup.