Thermal Camera Shows Heat In Mitsubishi i-MiEV – Video


Thermal Imaging Shows Lack Of Heat In i-MiEV

Thermal Imaging Shows Lack Of Heat In i-MiEV

Thermal imaging cameras allow us to see heat (or lack thereof). In this video, Mitsubishi i-MiEV owner Ben Nelson uses a thermal imaging camera to explore what little heat exists within the i-MiEV

Video description:

I take a look at the heat in the Mitsubishi iMiEV electric car using a thermal camera!

The Mitsubishi iMiEV uses a liquid-based heating system, similar to a gasoline car. Unfortunately, the heater takes some time to warm up, and isn’t as efficient as it could be. Some other electric cars use heat-pumps, which are more efficient. Due to the typical winter weather where is live in the northern part of the United States, I’m planning on adding an aftermarket combustion heater to the car. That will let me use my existing electric heater or burn alcohol for additional heat.

For a more detailed description, check out the video uploader’s blog post here.

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33 Comments on "Thermal Camera Shows Heat In Mitsubishi i-MiEV – Video"

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It’s interesting he plans to use gas heater to supplement. That’s a great idea for really cold areas. I wonder if any EV makers will make that as option. I haven’t run the heater, yet, especially now that the temperature is hoving 85F in SoCal in middle of Feb. However, I may need to run AC! šŸ˜‰

In NYC, the forecast is 3F for tomorrow morning. I hate you. šŸ˜‰

Oops. The latest forecast says 2F and an 18 mph wind. šŸ™

Philadelphia feels your pain.

We feel the pain, but the other way. Temp hit 88F! Had to run AC all the way with no releif in sight for next couple of days. šŸ˜‰

Unlike heating, there isn’t an efficient way to cool a car without electricity.

The NYC meteorologists were slightly off in their forecasts. This morning, the temperature in Central Park NYC was -1F.

That may be easier said than done. If manufacturers begin installing combustion heaters in the vehicles that may open up a whole can of worms with regard to emissions not to mention getting it past the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration etc. It could add substantially to the cost of any vehicle. Hobbyists can probably do it quite easily but a manufacturer has to be responsible for that vehicle from cradle to grave

Well, heating using fuel is lot easier than combustion engine, so maybe the approval process is also easier, and cost also relatively small. After all, we’re talking about motorcycle gas tank + burner + valve, nothing revolutionary.

A revolutionary aspect might be to heat the battery as well so that it can operate efficiently in cold, at least until (if?) internal resistance is able to take over.

Good points.
Speaking of emissions, the furnace burns the fuel inherently cleanly with no CO, NOx and particles.
Speaking of cost, that would be a problem IMHO. Also, adding fuel tank involves fire safety regulation in place, even those it is small.
The benefits should prevail, I think. For cold regions, you don’t want heating demand to compete with powertrain.

Although the winters in NL aren’t quite as cold, we’ve only had to scrape the windows 3 times so far I could not justify the 600 euros for a parking heater for my i.

Instead, I have bought a couple of seat heaters to warm the floor mats since you always have cold feet in this car. (as the picture above clearly illustrates).

Even though there is some insulation for the floor mats, there is little warm air flow to the foot well for a variety of reasons. The end result is that you have consistently cold feet.

A set of aftermarket heated seat pads are about 40 dollars and should be enough to put some 30 Watts of heat into the floor mat to keep my feet from freezing.

GM Phevs use the engine for the heat. Different for the VOlt from the ELR. In the ELR, when the engine starts <= 32 deg F, (no way of changing this), the car still drives off the battery, but the engine does a fast idle, regulating the coolant temperature between 145 deg (at engine off) to 125 deg at 0 deg ambient to 118 deg at 32 deg ambient. So to minimize use, you have to shut off the heater blower, and turn recirculate on, which quickly frosts up the windshield. Turning off the recirculate, or turning on the blower, even at a minimal setting, will ALWAYS cool the coolant. EVEN if you set the temp at 60 degrees recirculate. So, I can get around 120 miles per gallon when it is around 30, and 55 miles per gallon at 0 deg F. 0 deg F operation with the heater on high, and recirculate off, keeps the engine from getting above 140 degrees, therefore, the engine runs 100% of the time, until you turn off the fan, and turn recirculate on. In this scenario the 6 kw heater is fully running, BUT ITS SPEED IS DETERMINED ONLY BY THE FRESH… Read more »

After viewing WKTEC, I resolved to never buy another GM car.

Please elaborate for those of us unfamiliar with the WK

“Who Killed The Electric Car?”…

Another EV-1 legacy hater.

using a gas heater or ICE is a waste and defeats the clean car. It’s not a clean EV if you have a motor ,IE Hybrid even if it’s just the heater.
I guess I’m a Purist so get a Tesla and you’ll have plenty of kW for heat or cooling. Our SOUL EV has a Super Efficient heat pump and handles all we need.

Well, using a resistive heater for heating is just a really really wasteful method of heating things. Electricity is not well suited for it, but we use it anyways because heat pumps are expensive (cheapest car on the market currently)

If you use a parking heater you get to choose the fuel to a degree, so ethanol is a option which burns quite clean. Also, you turn everything out of that fuel into usable cabin heat. It’s very efficient at that.

Using fuel to move a car is not efficient, but it’s excellent for heating things šŸ™‚

The consumption of a parking heater is generally in the region of 0,5 liter per hour. So if you have a 2 liter tank you could drive for 4 hours before it needs filling again. With the i-Miev range (60 mi) that would be about 0,5 gallon per 240 miles. That’s not too bad.

There is a reason that people in really cold climates in east and northern Europe install these things into their EVs.

Also note the significant lack of insulation with respect to the i-Miev, it was designed as a gas car once.

Some hybrid like 2016 Prius Eco makes 56 mpg and has MSRP around $25k. There is little point for buyer or for taxpayers to pay hefty premium for battery only car that still needs combustion device to get what every cheap ICE car delivers out of the box.

Hey Guys,
Glad you like watching the video! You might want to read more about it at the blog post I wrote to go with the video:
The iMiEV is a very basic car. In most ways, I love it, but it was just never really designed for 0 degree Fahrenheit weather. I just finished installing the “parking heater” and have started experimenting with it. So far, it’s been working as planned. The heater keeps the car warmer than the electric heater would have, and conserves that battery energy for the car to maintain its maximum range. I’m still experimenting, but it seems to work as sort of a “range extender for really cold weather”!
Take a look at my YouTube Channel for more videos on this project!

-Ben Nelson

Excelling job and fantastic idea! I hope it works out well, and maybe even convince factories to have such things as optional equipment.

BEV’s intensively used in cold climates should have the possibility to be equiped with a fossil fuel heater. What is dangerous is not the heater but the DIY installation of it. Its about time that BEV’s are not build with the 0,01% BEV’s enthusiast in mind anymore. We will carry on using fossil fuels anyway, its all about the amount of it.

It’s rough even with a Tesla, some of the Canadians have reported 50 to 66% range loss in this brutal cold spell (-20’s) and one guy said it’s so cold that it won’t even allow to charge.

Electric heat is efficient–it all goes into heat, but the problem is that it takes so much of it to feel warm, and the battery has less capability as temperature falls.

Cold weather is a big problem and the little fuel heaters are a good solution until a better solution can be found–hint, hint, design one…

The solution is called ICE. Or fuel cells. Or hybrid. Battery energy density and recharge speed is way too low for every practical car, although it is fine for some specific use cases in milder climates and for lower speeds. If it doesn’t work in some cold climate, it is more rational to use technology that works instead of pushing something crippled.

Here in Berlin it also gets very Chilli.(but normally only around 10F).

So a couple of guys, who drive Ions, C-Zeros and IMiev, thought it would be a good idea to put some extra insolation in Doors ect. and foremost on the heater conduit.

This conduit can be considered as a faulty design. You lose most of your heat on the way to the passenger compartment.

Now they have to turn down the heater in the winter šŸ˜‰

They found a dealer who did this for about 1000$.

Maybe they can help you with the specifics?

Good Point. Almost any complex product can be improved upon by the end user. If they have the time, inclination, expertise, or know someone who does, and pay them to improve said product.

It’s a shame Mitsubishi decided (AFAICS) to abandon the i-MieV. I realize they probably make more of a profit on one Outlander PHEV (12kWh battery) than on an i-MiEV, but surely they have to have figured out how to achieve significant battery capacity by now? An i-MiEV with the same long-since-amortized body, ~50% bigger battery (sasme weight/space) would make a very nice ~100mi AER commuter.

The i-MiEV did well in many markets around the world where a small, practical, four-door vehicle was necessary. It did very poorly in the US, where people typically drive their 7-passenger V8 SUVs down the driveway to get their mail from the mailbox.

Why not use an electric floor mat? Although I think they need to have something like that already.

I know that will draw more juice. Also you could probably do something to improve the insulation, without damaging the car.

Good video and and an important topic, as this is one the downsides of evs.

For people who want to minimize ICE use (namely, me); the nice thing about the later Volts is that you don’t have to run the engine until the ambient is 15 deg F or less.

I wish they’d include also a -20 deg F option so that way I’d never have to run it if I don’t want to.

Agree with the poster who said that using something other than the engine will screw up emissions compliance. I don’t want a bunch of extra crap in my cars anyway, so if something can do double duty, that is fine by me. If I could keep the engine off, I’d use the resistance heater sparingly to keep the windshield and rear window clear, and then maybe have an electric blanket to throw over my thighs plugged into the cigarette lighter.

How about catalytic converters and emission tests for these “clean diesel” heaters? Or how about just using cars that really works for your application as it is without reverting back to combustion patchwork?

Right there in the article he’s quoted as saying:
“Iā€™m planning on adding an aftermarket combustion heater to the car. That will let me use my existing electric heater or burn
for additional heat.”

Seems to me that alcohol would be a simple, low-emission solution for supplementary heating.

How exactly uncontrolled ethanol burning will make it cleaner than catalytic converter equipped and tested gas car? You can make whole car “FlexFuel” for just $100 as GM had recently noted, and it will run on ethanol, will have catalytic converter, and will not require coal & gas produced electricity. But ethanol burning still emits some poisonous substances*, and in practice people will burn whatever aftermarket stuff they will find in these heaters.


I have a 5kW eberspracher diesel warmer in my imiev. The car is really warm down to 0F. (usually to hot actually). It warms the watersystem in in the car. I live in Norway, and drives 20k miles a year. Approx 1 gallon capacity. Lasts a week. Calculated use pr km is 0.08l.
Total diesel consumed a year is 15.

Ben: I drove an I-MiEV for 2 years and in Philly that car was waaaay too cold for winter use. My commute was 32 miles roundtrip. I could run the heater full blast and get moderately warm, but the car was almost empty by the time I got back home. Not having a 240V set up at home, it meant that the car was for all intents and purposes parked for the night. After 2 winters of wearing several layers of heavy clothes, double gloves, 2 pairs of socks and even then just being barely acceptably warm, I turned the lease in and bought a used Volt. What a difference. Now I can be warm, use only a bit of gas on cold days. Yes, I prefer all BEV, but that was just not a realistic option. Loved my I-MiEV, but the Volt was what I needed.

Please post the installation of the heater. Tomas, from NJ did a similar installation and he swears by it. Why cannot Nissan, and other BEV OEM’s install these heaters for customers in the North?