In the last few days, there has been some bad news and some good news for Volkswagen’s heating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. New owners might have to miss out on an efficient heat pump due to the chip shortage, but a near-production version of an upcoming vehicle looks like it could improve efficiency even more.
VW Gets The Same Heat Pump Woes That Have Plagued Other Manufacturers
Heat pumps help save energy. They work by taking heat from outside and moving it inside your home. This is more efficient than using electricity or gas to create the heat. Heat pumps also work in reverse, so they can take hot air from inside your house and move it outside to cool down the home during summer months.
They’re even more important in cars, because energy savings translate directly into additional driving range in the winter. Resistive heating (the other common heating system for EVs) work much less efficiently because they use the battery pack’s power to create the heat instead of moving it around like a heat pump.
So, it should be no surprise that DriveTeslaCanada’s writers are less than excited about the chip shortage’s effects on the heat pump market. While most of Canada’s population lives not too far from the US border (where it’s warmer), that doesn’t mean they have an easy time with EVs in the winter. Just like northernmost US states, range can suffer a LOT when a resistive heaters start sucking juice from a car’s battery pack.
A number of manufacturers have already stopped offering heat pumps, and some offered discounts to affected drivers. But, the heat pump in the VW ID.4 was already only optional, so no refunds or discounts will be given.
If you’re buying a VW ID.4 or any other EV without a heat pump and live in a cold climate, be sure to do the following to help preserve as much range as possible:
- Keep your vehicle plugged in at night so it can keep the battery pack from freezing up.
- Set a charge timer so that the vehicle completes its charge a few minutes before you leave the house. This will help further warm the battery pack up.
- Set a timer or use a remote app/fob to preheat the vehicle’s interior using grid power. This will keep your car from having to use a bunch of battery energy to do the initial warming.
- Once you’re under way, set the temperature or heat intensity lower and wear warm clothes so you won’t need to use as much energy on the drive.
- Use seat heaters, steering wheel heaters, etc., to stay warm or at least use less cabin heat. Seat heaters use far less energy than a resistive air heater in a vehicle.
- Drive conservatively, both for winter driving safety and to get more range from your battery pack.
The Good News: VW’s Future Vehicles Are Going To Have More Efficient HVAC Systems
If the idea of not having an efficient heat pump makes you want to wait to buy a VW EV, there’s some good news from a pre-production ID.7. Not only will future ID.4 vehicles have a heat pump available, but they’ll be more efficient during summer months, too.
Volkswagen takes car air conditioning to the next level with its new ID.7 model, which features an upgraded system that cools or heats the interior of your vehicle faster than ever before! This incredible technology ensures you experience comfortable temperatures in all seasons and makes it easier for vehicles owners to get on their way quickly from any destination.
As soon as a driver gets close to the vehicle with their key, electronically-controlled air vents distribute air throughout the interior. Furthermore, this cutting-edge automated climate control system is voice command activated and monitors sun position in addition to user preferences for an even more personalized experience. Ultimately, VW says these features will make driving in the new electric saloon one of utmost comfort and establish it as a leader among its peers in HVAC efficiency.
In hot climates, the ID.7 offers an unprecedented level of comfort with its smart air vents in the cockpit that distribute breezy relief to a wide area using dynamic horizontal movements. Once you and your passengers are in position, simply redirect this flow straight at all bodies or enjoy indirect ventilation throughout the interior; whatever suits your mood best! The ID.7 is Volkswagen’s first model with such a clever control system.
Featuring a 38-centimeter (15-inch) touchscreen, the climate control system of ID.7 is located on its uppermost layer for ease of access; simply tap your finger to activate it! The intuitive air conditioning context menu allows users to digitally adjust all smart vents as desired — you can also save and customize each setting with backlit touch sliders that control the temperature and airflow direction.
With the new voice activated, digitally controlled air conditioning system by Volkswagen, special “Smart Climates” requests can be stored. For instance, when you say “Hello Volkswagen! My hands are cold,” it will activate a program that directs warm air towards your steering wheel for about five minutes — warming up those chilly digits right away.
When the automated system is enabled, it responds to its environmental conditions. A sensor found near the windscreen can recognize when there’s high outside temperature and solar exposure, such as direct sunlight hitting one side of the vehicle. In this case, ID.7 will increase air conditioning in those warmer areas first, then specifically towards passengers for an even more pleasant interior environment.
As the sixth model of Volkswagen’s all-electric ID. family, the world premiere of the revolutionary ID.7 is scheduled for Q2 2023. This MEB-powered electric saloon will be in China and Europe this year before North America follows suit in 2024 — after its predecessor, the powerful yet efficient ID.4. VW says it’s time to get ready to witness a new era with features that will transform your daily drive into an adventure you have never experienced before.
Featured image provided by Volkswagen.
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