danholl
Site Moderator
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Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2012 6:36 am

Re: Is the heater/defroster a range killer?

Mon Nov 19, 2012 6:52 am

There has been a problem reported - including my Focus EV - where the budget mileage dropped an unreasonable amount as the weather got cold - I was down to 40 miles on a full charge temps around 40F. Going to the dealer and having the 3 main computers reprogrammed per Technical Service Bulletin 12-8-20 restored the predicted miles to a reasonable mileage.

Fluke
Posts: 142
Joined: Tue May 29, 2012 3:48 am
Location: Kansas

Re: Is the heater/defroster a range killer?

Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:45 pm

j79guy wrote:-20 celcius here, my indicated range has been reduced by 60%. I park my car in a heated garage (+5 C.) and pre-heat the car on-plug for 5 minutes before leaving for work. At work, the car is kept on-plug, but parked outside. Cold plus ice radials are range killers. My commute is short, but I did not expect this big of a hit. Otherwise the car has been great in the snow and on the ice. (Once the Blizzaks were put on.)

Robin Sipe
Robin,
That's a pretty big percentage-wise hit to the range, what was the base range you are comparing to, or what is the actual predicted miles? I believe you are located in BC, Canada - what kind of cabin heating and/or defrosting were you using?
2012 White Platinum Ford Focus Electric
Yes, SYNC is that bad

j79guy
Posts: 16
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2012 6:40 pm

Re: Is the heater/defroster a range killer?

Wed Nov 21, 2012 11:42 am

Fluke: Northern British Columbia. -23C here this morning. I don't scrimp on the heat/comfort, but do try to use it wisely. With a fresh charge in the morning, my in-dash display is indicating a useable range of 60Km total. I have no reason to doubt this, as when I drive approximately 30km, I have half a "battery" left indicated. The driver's seat heater is set at "1", and the heating system set on auto, 19C. I keep the car in a heated garage @ +5C, and on plug. I pre-warm the car for 5 min while on-plug, before driving. It appears that it is the heater that kills the range, more than anything else. I do not use the window defrosters. Certainly the Blizzak WS-70 ice radials don't help, and the useable indicated range dropped from 64km to 60km just from the tire swap. My commute is only 9km, so this isn't an issue. I'm just reporting it as I see it. Best range I ever saw on the display was 141km, back in last August when the car was fresh off the dealer's lot, and temperature was +25C, which seems about average from what I hear from other FFE owners.

Robin Sipe.

Fluke
Posts: 142
Joined: Tue May 29, 2012 3:48 am
Location: Kansas

Re: Is the heater/defroster a range killer?

Wed Nov 21, 2012 1:04 pm

Robin,
Thanks for replying - great info. I wanted to know because we do occasionally get some real winter weather here in Kansas. My normal commute is only 26 miles round trip, but I have a regular trip that I take once or twice a week that is about 55 miles. Obviously I prefer to not do a mid-trip charge in order to accomplish it, but at least there are several 220V chargers along the way. I typically will add layers of clothes and forego the heating to get more range, but defrosting is not optional when it starts to fog or ice up...
2012 White Platinum Ford Focus Electric
Yes, SYNC is that bad

Econenviro
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Location: Boulder CO
Contact: Website

Re: Is the heater/defroster a range killer?

Wed Nov 21, 2012 6:46 pm

j79guy wrote:Fluke: Northern British Columbia. -23C here this morning. I don't scrimp on the heat/comfort, but do try to use it wisely. With a fresh charge in the morning, my in-dash display is indicating a useable range of 60Km total. I have no reason to doubt this, as when I drive approximately 30km, I have half a "battery" left indicated. The driver's seat heater is set at "1", and the heating system set on auto, 19C. I keep the car in a heated garage @ +5C, and on plug. I pre-warm the car for 5 min while on-plug, before driving. It appears that it is the heater that kills the range, more than anything else. Robin Sipe.
You are correct about the heater. I wonder why you set the seat heater to 1? Even at 5, it uses hardly any power.

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

Re: Is the heater/defroster a range killer?

Thu Nov 22, 2012 7:54 am

You are correct about the heater. I wonder why you set the seat heater to 1? Even at 5, it uses hardly any power.
Because it will smoke your arse....

Even thought the heater is a range killer, it is the best car heater I have had in a vehicle. I wondered why Ford only gives us 5 minutes of preconditioning and I have discovered the heater almost instantly heats up. I set mine at 66 degrees with the seat heater on 1 and I am very comfortable. I have also noticed the car is very tight. On other cars you could feel cold air coming in through the door latch or around the electric window switch. This one appears very tight and I often turn the heater off and just use the seat heaters, which in fact use very little electricity....

My area is RI and not that cold. Average temps right now in low 30s in the am and high 40s for the daytime. My range has been cut from 4 miles per kWH to 3. A 25% reduction. For my usage it isn't a deal breaker. I am still getting 50-60 miles of battery capacity.

The heater is a good response to all the early complaints on the Leaf. Ford has given us a very usable vehicle even in the worst conditions like our friend from BC. (By the way j79guy, -23C is friggin cold! God bless you!)
2012 Ford Focus Electric. Delivered 5/29/2012

Gatorman82
Posts: 23
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 6:45 pm

Re: Is the heater/defroster a range killer?

Thu Dec 13, 2012 4:53 pm

I live in Maryland, just north of Baltimore. In the summer, running without A/C on, I was seeing 80-90 miles on a charge. Now, with the temperatures in the 40s and 50s (occasionally in the 30s), I'm getting 55-60 miles per charge. I run the heater continually. If I turn it off, the range immediately jumps up about 15-20%.

Yoyogee
Posts: 24
Joined: Thu Dec 13, 2012 8:24 pm

Re: Is the heater/defroster a range killer?

Thu Dec 13, 2012 11:25 pm

Has anyone else noticed that the windshield gets fogged up rather easily? (Requiring the use of the defroster). I think that this is because the cabin is so air tight. It's not a big deal but I find that I need to blast the defroster from time to time to deal with the fogging (Killing my butterflies). I wish that there was a simple "defrost vent" setting that didn't engage the A/C, fans and negatively effect the range.

I also agree that the seat warmers are GREAT and with the FFE's nearly draft-less interior, it's often all I need after preconditioning in the morning. (In the SF bay area it's damp but never really under 40 degrees in winter).

-Rob G.

ShilaCypress
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Re: Is the heater/defroster a range killer?

Tue Jan 01, 2013 11:04 am

Nice topics. Thanks for shearing................

mountaineer
Posts: 51
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Location: western Colorado
Contact: Website

Re: Is the heater/defroster a range killer?

Wed Jan 02, 2013 4:08 pm

My 2013 FFE's indicated range is computed from my past 3 Ts (Technique, Terrain, and Temperature) based on the previous 20 charging sessions (fewer if some variable is changing rapidly). If I used much cabin heat, or Max Defrost (which turns on a/c and cabin heat and fan, all at max), the car would quickly learn to knock 20+ miles off my predicted range.

However, on a ~25˚F day in the driveway here at 7100' in the Colorado Rockies, I just made some observations using the Accessories option in the MyView display (I'll try next to post as a new topic how I set up that screen):

- Fan, from lowest to highest speed. uses from <0.1 to 0.3 kW of "Other" load.
- Max Defrost uses 2.1 kW, so an hour of that uses up about 11% of a full nominal charge.
- Low fan plus 65˚F Auto cabin heat varies between ~0 and 1.0 kW as cabin heater cycles on off, but at 60˚F, <0.1 kW.
- Low fan at LO temperature setting, which seems to me ≤59˚F, uses <<0.1 kW (and zero indicated power for Climate, i.e. cabin heater is off).
- Setting to low fan and LO temperature, vs 65˚F Auto, immediately raised my predicted range by 9 miles.

Front-seat heaters reportedly draw up to 0.5 kW at max "5" setting (too hot for most people—I like 1–2), but apparently are powered by the 12VDC accessory battery. Perhaps someone knows how much and how often and by what algorithm this is recharged by the DC-DC converter from the main traction battery, but in the short run the seat heaters seem not to show up as a traction load that affects range. However, the a/c and cabin heater are high-voltage and hence directly reduce range.

So for max winter range, I suggest preheating cabin with Remote Start set to max 15-minute duration, and repeated once if necessary, while the car is still plugged in, then defrosting with bottom-row (not Max) defrost button at LO temp (outside air) and min fanspeed.

If your side windows fog up or frost over, the owner's manual has a nice tip: press floor-vent and panel-vent air distribution buttons in bottom row of center panel, select a/c, adjust temp control for comfort, set fan to max, and direct outer instrument-panel vents toward side windows while closing vents in middle of panel.

The main winter range-saver, given good driving technique, is to minimize use of the resistive cabin heater by relying instead on seat heaters and clothing. That is, set cabin temp to LO (≤59˚F) if you can, otherwise as low as comfortable. (You will lose significant range if you set to a normal indoor house temperature rather than wearing winter clothing!) Defrost using the bottom-row defrost-and-person button, which is the "vent" setting other users have wanted, i.e. it admits outside air. Then the next need, as a much lower priority, is to use the lowest fanspeed consistent with avoiding windshield/window fogging. If you set fanspeed manually or on the center touchscreen, it will retain that fanspeed setting even if you turn ordinary defrost off and on (not if you Max Defrost, which locks fanspeed to max while activated) or if you turn the car off and on, but it will lose the fanspeed setting if you turn the whole Climate panel off and on.

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