Heat pump for cabin heating?

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#1
Has anyone manged to find out if the cabin heating for Model 3 is provided by either electric resistors or a heat pump? I am really hoping for the latter, as in Canada I depend on car heat far more often than air conditioning.

I have tried to do a lot of research on this myself but I have found nothing clear on this.
 

MarkB

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#2
I was wondering the same thing. Nissan Leaf information seems to indicate it works brilliantly, supported by anecdotal reports (including Leaf owners that have used both the older/basic resistance heaters and the newer (and higher trim level)) heat pump version.
 

garsh

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#4
Don't forget, this car includes heated seats. You want to primarily use those. They'll be more efficient than a heat pump heating the air blowing around you.
 
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#5
Well, the heated seats are a premium upgrade so many cars won't have them.

I understand that there are options, but bottom-line, I am curious about if the car comes with a heat pump or not. Simple as that.
 

Akilae

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#7
Even without premium this car is quite well equipped imo. I also thought that heated seats are reserved for premium.
 

MarkB

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#8
They'll be more efficient than a heat pump heating the air blowing around you.
Heat pumps don't heat the air as such, they capture heat from the outside air to raise the temperature of the inside air. it's essentially an air conditioner in reverse.

They are VERY efficient until very low temperatures (when there's not enough heat left in a given quantity of air), so - as Greg Peden said above, there would need to be resistive heating as well -- but that would be a very cheap part of the system.

In houses, heat pumps heat in winter and cool in summer.
The A/C already exists -- I don't think a completely separate system would be required.
 
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#9
Just to add a little bit of engineering talk to this, the point of using a heat pump is that you are moving heat energy instead of creating it, therefore your energy productivity is not bound by thermodynamics. There is nothing wrong with using 100 watts to pump in heat at a rate of 400 watts if your heat pump is efficient enough. Electric resistance gets one-for-one energy productivity, ie burning 100 watts gets you 100 watts of heat.

In the broader picture, using a heat pump and glycol loop, or something similar, could in concept move waste heat from the battery in to the cabin, instead of using the radiator to vent heat. This is similar to what is done to heat a car with a combustion engine, however since we can count on massive waste heat coming off of the engine this is a very robust solution for all cases. Since electric cars waste far less energy in operation, an active cabin heating solution is needed.

Heated seats are a good call for short-haul trips, but given a longer drive when range actually matters, over the course of the several hours of operation the cabin interior air will end up being heated one way or another, in which case you would benefit a lot from a heat pump. Similarly, a heat pump could be used to keep the battery conditioned in cold weather instead of electric resistance.

In the simplest of terms, an air conditioner could be "turned around" with some airflow louvers and made in to a heat pump, however air conditioners and heat pumps are working with very different air temperatures and for that reason sometimes benefit from different designs with separate hardware.

Personally I have a hard time imagining Tesla having promoted the climate control system in the car so hard as they did while still being the only major electric car manufacturer relying on resistive heating. So I am very hopeful for a heat pump.
 

garsh

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#10
Heated seats tend to be more efficient than heat pumps in cars simply because you limit the heating to the exact locations where it is needed, instead of moving heated air around the cabin.

With the heated seats & steering wheel in my Leaf, the only part of me that feels left out are my cold toes. :)
 

Tom Bodera

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#11
The volt uses a heat pump and adds resistive heat.

The model S/X to my knowledge did not use heat pumps to "keep things simple". Another thing to break I guess.
 

mig

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#12
Heated seats tend to be more efficient than heat pumps in cars simply because you limit the heating to the exact locations where it is needed, instead of moving heated air around the cabin.

With the heated seats & steering wheel in my Leaf, the only part of me that feels left out are my cold toes. :)
Yes, and "bundling up" is even more efficient than heated seats/steering wheel :p.

I would hope they include a heat pump instead of resistive heater, but if they can get by with 1-1.5kW heater it shouldn't affect range *too* much (though for comparison, a heat pump would use probably 300W to move the same amount of heat).

In my LEAF I would *never* use the heater, but in the i3 the heater seems to be much more efficient and doesn't affect range nearly as much. I can tell you it is much nicer to have the cabin heated. My kids sitting in the unheated rear seats especially appreciate that.
 

garsh

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#13
Yes, and "bundling up" is even more efficient than heated seats/steering wheel :p.
That's exactly what I end up doing in my Leaf in the winter. I've disconnected the heater altogether. So I bundle up & use the heated seats and steering wheel. Otherwise, it doesn't have enough range for my commute.

And that's why I'm getting my 3 with the long range option. :p
 

KennethK

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#14

mig

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TirianW

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#19
LEAF owner here, and the higher trim level LEAFs have both the heat pump and the resistive heater. If you use Leaf Spy or one of the similar utilities you can see them both being used in conjunction under two situations - when it is fairly cold outside (like it is now), or when in defrost mode in warm temperatures. The defrost setting in an ICE car with AC cools the incoming air to reduce the humidity level, then heats it back up to increase the ability of the air to hold moisture (like a dehumidifier). Because this require both heating and cooling the air at the same time, and a heat pump is capable of either heating or cooling but only one at a time, it requires a second system to operate. In the case of the LEAF and similar cars, a resistance heater and a heat pump. So you can build a BEV with both an air conditioner and a resistive heater, or a heat pump and a resistive heater, but not just a heat pump. So the Model 3 showing a resistive heater on the block diagram does not preclude it from having a heat pump - you will find the same heater on all LEAFs.
 
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#20
Just a remark: heat pump is not an additional device on a vehicle. It is the same AC system with different plumbing.*
Like TirianW said, it can do one or another, but not both simultaneously. Resistive heater is unavoidable, but it is not used
in most scenarios for longer than heatup cycle.

*Might also have additional condenser.

EV's with ICE on board often use engine as a heat source as well.


As for Model 3, it appears that there is no heat pump functionality.