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Europe: BMW boosting electric vehicle range with targeted heat-rays

BMW is experimenting with infrared heating systems for future cars, warming occupants in a more fuel-efficient and precise manner, and thus potentially extending the range of hybrids and EVs. The system, outlined during a BMW “innovation day,” bypasses traditional warm-air vents in favor of infrared heating surfaces that warm passengers directly. There’d be no more sitting shivering until the car warmed up in the depths of winter, either, with BMW claiming that the system can have you toasty in just 60 seconds.

Traditional heating systems warm air, which is then blown into the cabin. BMW’s new approach would be silent, with no fans required, and also use less power. Even if a car was still fitted with the existing style of HVAC system – a probability, since IR can’t be used to cool the environment, and thus air-con would still be required – BMW suggests that the infrared tech could be an added extra, similar to heated seats, and allow passengers to more directly control their own comfort.

That too would have power advantages, with the car able to turn off heating to those parts of the vehicle unoccupied by passengers. So, the front seats could be heated if it’s just two of you in the car, the back left cold, or alternatively the front passenger seat left cool while the driver and the kids in the back are kept comfortable.


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