It’s probably going to be 5 years before we need to buy a new car, but Vicki and I were talking about the new Nissan Leaf and other EVs. With our current driving pattern, we could definitely get by with a two seater EV with 75 miles or so of range, as well as a hybrid or whatever they’re calling the Volt these days. Obviously the state of the art will have advanced by then, but in theory we could get by with what’s available now.
But one thing that gives me pause is heating the cabin. Hybrids and gas engined cars get worse mileage in the winter here in the temperate zone. Part of that is that engines aren’t as efficient in the cold, but also in the case in hybrids, they run the gas engine more often to heat up the engine and the cabin. But EVs are on a pretty limited power budget, and electric heaters suck up electricity like nobody’s business. So what I’m wondering is if EVs currently have the option, or whether I’ve just invented it, to use house power to heat the cabin up before you use it. So if you plug your EV in overnight, it charges the battery, and then an hour or so before you’re scheduled to drive it somewhere, it starts using house power to heat up the cabin. That would save the power in the battery for the important stuff, like driving the wheels and powering your iPod.
Hey, you could even use a peltier cooler to use the house power to cool it in the summer, come to think of it.
I guess for the drive home from work, you’d be stuck using the battery. But no idea is perfect.