msmunger52
Posts: 14
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2012 10:51 pm

Is the heater/defroster a range killer?

Fri Jul 06, 2012 11:07 pm

I am seriously considering the Focus electric but am a little concerned over how much impact running the heater and/or defroster will have on the range. I know it is a problem with the 2012 Leaf.

dwf123
Posts: 100
Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2012 8:04 am

Re: Is the heater/defroster a range killer?

Sat Jul 07, 2012 4:41 am

Range Anxiety???? The first thing you have to determine is your usage pattern. Every morning you are going to have 75-85 miles of range (maybe better depending on your driving techniques.) If you plan on driving more then 80 miles one way, each day, you are in trouble.

For example I drive 80 miles round trip on my commute. I drive to work and have 35-40 miles of range left. I can do all my work errands around town, go back to work, plug in and have 80 miles of range to go home. Get home have 35-40 miles to run errands, plug-in and have 80 miles available the next morning. The average American drives less then 40 miles each day. Think about your usage and see if it fits the model.

To answer your question - Yes the defroster will affect the range. Some days when I drive to work it has been raining - windshield wipers and headlights on, it is hot - AC on, I hit a lot of stop lights - accelerating out of the light cuts range. So when I get to work I might have used 5-6 miles less on my range. So instead of having 35-40 miles left to do errands I will have 28-32 miles left on the battery, still plenty...

It has not been cold so I have not used the heater but it has been hotter then beejeebees and I run the AC all the time. It is a great AC, works very well. I prestart the car with myfordmobile.com and it does not affect the range at all.

Range Anxiety is a real issue for alot of people, myself included. However, once I discovered my life style worked perfectly with the car, I started driving like I love to drive. I stopped worrying and really enjoyed the little hot rod. It is quick and zippy with great handling characteristics.

ps I bought this car in NY and my wife and I drove it home from NJ to RI - 186 miles. Nervous as hell, we only had to stop and charge 2 times.
2012 Ford Focus Electric. Delivered 5/29/2012

msmunger52
Posts: 14
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2012 10:51 pm

Re: Is the heater/defroster a range killer?

Sun Jul 08, 2012 7:37 am

dwf123,

Thanks for your informative reply.

I fit the "profile" for elect car. My commute is 20 miles one way. I usually use about 10 miles at lunch then come directly home for a total of 50 miles. When I run errands after work, they typically add under 5 miles. I do not have an opportunity to charge at work but should not need it. My wife has a Prius which is our extended travel car. I don't plan on taking the FFE out of the county.

From what I've read, use of the heater in the 2012 Leaf cuts range by 25 miles. That's what prompted my question about the FFE heater. Do you have any info re what technology is used for the FFE heater? e.g. ICE heater systems typically use a heater radiator. I'd like to know how the FFE heater/defroster works.

Rwbill
Posts: 86
Joined: Fri May 25, 2012 9:24 am
Location: Richmond, Virginia

Re: Is the heater/defroster a range killer?

Sun Jul 08, 2012 9:33 am

hi m,
you ask a couple of questions that I was very concerned about. I thought that battery power as used for heating and cooling would greatly reduce the range of the vehicle. I will travel 50 upwards of 60 miles on a day if I run to Target on the way home. After I read how it was done I went ahead and ordered a FFE as I thought I would have plenty of spare capacity. After reading the early comments that certainly appears to be the case for summer, using the A/C. I would certainly have expected a reduction of more than 5 or 6 miles, and even that can be reduced if the vehicle is plugged in for "pre conditioning" using household or grid power.

I don't think dwf or anyone has any experience yet in heating, unless dwf is just a masochist. The internal heating is done by a separate, electrical heater. This appears to be probably an electrical resistance heater of some sort which will definitely increase the consumption of capacity, higher amp consumption. Also using the rear window defroster in conjunction with the heater/windshield defroster will reduce the range. How much? I don't know, I don't think anyone has any experience with it yet, seeing as it's been 100 degrees outside. Again, if home, or if at work at a parking deck possibly you could use grid current to precondition the car, having the windows de-iced and the internal temperature up to 45 or 50 degrees before unplugging.

Do you have the link to the owners manual?

I have that .pdf saved and we could probably post an online link to the owners manual again.

EDIT. I meant to say also that the cabin A/C is used to cool the cabin and the high voltage battery, this active cooling of the main high voltage battery is a key feature that the Leaf does not have.

Good luck, mine is due in in late August now, just got the VIN and am excited about it.

msmunger52
Posts: 14
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2012 10:51 pm

Re: Is the heater/defroster a range killer?

Tue Jul 10, 2012 9:47 pm

RW,

I really appreciate your thoughts. I have looked at the owners manual and noticed how they stress pre-conditioning while on the grid and how AC/Heater and I guess defroster is coupled with the high voltage battery cooling/heater system. You suggest "The internal heating is done by a separate, electrical heater. This appears to be probably an electrical resistance heater of some sort . . . " Sounds reasonable to me. I would like to get a more definitive explanation from a technician who knows exactly how it works. Is the shop manual available?

I understand about summer & heater tests. I agree, until users attempt the heater and report the results it's impact on range will be unknown. I'm glad to hear so far that running of the AC does not seem to be a major hit . . . to the best of my recollection I don't remember use of AC hitting the Leaf range either. Nissan has stated they will be fixing their heater problem for the 2013 model.

That's very exciting you have a VIN! Will look forward to your posts when you have the vehicle in service.

Evocus
Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2012 12:53 pm
Location: Southern California

Re: Is the heater/defroster a range killer?

Fri Aug 03, 2012 2:33 pm

Also note that Ford uses the MyFordMobile App/website to allow you to setup "GO Times" where the car is prepared for use while still on the charger. This means heating or cooling to your desired temperature at the time you designate you want to leave. This reduces the power required from the battery once you are off the charger.
2012 Ford Focus Electric White Platinum Tricoat Metallic (4 July 2012)
Schneider EV2430WS Level 2 EVSE

Charged Up
Posts: 59
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2011 7:13 pm
Location: Virginia

Re: Is the heater/defroster a range killer?

Fri Aug 03, 2012 6:42 pm

All things being equal, generating heat is a more energy intensive than cooling, which simply involves moving heat out of the air you want "cooled."

Although the heater in the FFE does have an electric compressor, it is not an electric resistance heater. The descriptions are vague but sounds like some kind of heat pump to me.

http://media.ford.com/images/10031/Ford ... ehicle.pdf

One of the things that reduces range in the cold, is not just generating heat for the cabin, but the battery itself is less effective if it is cold. Thus, preconditiong will be key, and one of the things to remember about preconditioning is that the battery has considerable thermal mass, so once you get it warm it will stay warm for a long time, and of course while in use it is generating heat.

The Nissan LEAF initially had nothing to heat the battery. And the range suffered accordingly. Nissan subsequently added resistive heating strips, but unlike the FFE Nissan does not use liquid cooling/heating so one wonders how effective that heat is distributed throughout the battery.

What region are you in?

Range will be reduced in Winter but certainly the FFE will perform better than the LEAF. If you can keep the car in a garage and if you can precondition the affects will be much smaller. I would guess we are talking 10 to 30 percent range reduction, but figuring out where you will be is dependent on many factors.

Given your 40 mile commute and 50 if you run errands, I do not think winter range will be an issue for you at all.

msmunger52
Posts: 14
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2012 10:51 pm

Re: Is the heater/defroster a range killer?

Fri Aug 03, 2012 11:51 pm

I live in San Diego and the climate is very mild. A great environment for Electric Vehicles. I'm not overly concerned about loss of range due to running the heater. I don't think we will really know the impact until owners start reporting their experiences which probably won't happen until this Fall/Winter.

I test drove an FFE again today - getting real close to deciding to buy.

Rwbill
Posts: 86
Joined: Fri May 25, 2012 9:24 am
Location: Richmond, Virginia

Re: Is the heater/defroster a range killer?

Sun Aug 05, 2012 6:00 pm

mmunger wrote:I live in San Diego and the climate is very mild. A great environment for Electric Vehicles. I'm not overly concerned about loss of range due to running the heater. I don't think we will really know the impact until owners start reporting their experiences which probably won't happen until this Fall/Winter.

I test drove an FFE again today - getting real close to deciding to buy.
Does the power company give you a real off peak discount? Looks like that will be a real advantage for me here in Virginia, between 1-5 am charging at less than 6 cents per kWh. with the discount that dominion power gives for off off peak charging the FFE will save more money than I originally thought possible. Mine is being built tomorrow, Aug 6, allegedly.

msmunger52
Posts: 14
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2012 10:51 pm

Re: Is the heater/defroster a range killer?

Tue Aug 07, 2012 9:50 pm

.06 is a bargain by CA standards.

There are 4 different EV Time of Use (TOU) residential electric rates for San Diego (SDG&E):

Super Off Peak Off Peak Peak Off Peak
Midnight - 5am 5am - 12pm 12pm - 6pm 6pm- Midnight
0.145 0.167 0.258 0.167

In my situation the best approach is to have a second meter installed at my home and put it on the TOU program. Will then schedule the car to be charged between Midnight and 5am to get the lowest rate. Only the car charger will be on the TOU rate.

The rest of the home is on a separate meter with another rate program which escalates the charges in Tiers as you use more electricity. It would be bad to put the EV on this meter, the extra usage would kick my bill into the higher rate tiers.

Here in CA the EV Project is active. They will give you a Blnk charger and pay most of the install cost for you. SDG&E will put in the TOU meter for a nominal fee. In return you allow the EV Project to monitor your EV electricity usage habits. The only problem is that the EV Project allows Leaf and Volt owners to participate but not FEE (or any other EV for that matter). Don't know why Ford missed hooking up with this program. It is a real hit to me I'll have to fund all costs for the charger myself if I get the FFE.

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