We have all been waiting for it: A way to extend the battery life of the Electric Vehicles that are hitting the market. So BMW is stepping up with its newest innovation. Last week, they brought forth the discussion of adding an infrared heating system in plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles that would keep the inhabitants warm while limiting power consumption on the battery. The door panels and footwells of the vehicle would give off thermal radiation delivering fast and effective cabin heat within a minute with no additional air vents or fans. Coupled with an on-board heat pump the system heating system could extend the electric range of the vehicle by 30 percent by cutting the cabin heating energy needs in half.
The infrared heating system is said to be silent and without pulling outer air contaminants into the cabin of the car from air ventilation systems. They are also reputed to offer more comfort to the inhabitants since it is more instant without the discomfort of rushing and flowing air. Another option discussed is individual infrared heating controls depending on where inhabitants are seated. That way, they have their own personal comfort in their seat without the additional energy consumption of heating the entire cabin. The heat in each area can be increased or lowered according to an inhabitants comfort level, providing for a better in-vehicle experience.
When or even if such a system will materialize in any of BMW’s production hybrid or electric cars is still speculation. But there is one thing we do know: BMW is going to debut the Active Tourer at the Paris Motor Show next week. It is a plug-in hybrid car, so we have to wonder if that new infrared heating system will also make its debut. Rumor has it that because of demand questions and cost, it may be delayed in the newest upcoming EV and PHEV models.