Eberspaecher, a German company that specializes in exhaust and electronic systems, has announced the debut of what the company claims is the world’s first pure bio-ethanol vehicle heater. On display at the Frankfurt Motor Show 2011, the new technology can allow electric vehicles to save battery energy on heating in the winter months.
Bio-ethanol, often derived from feedstock, is usually used as a mixture in biofuels, but the Eberspaecher Hydronic 2 E-Mobility, type E4S water heater (E4s) uses pure bio-ethanol, as little as 0.11 gallons per hour. So far, the company has tested the technology on 20 electric Fiorinos (small fleet vans) from the German supplier Karabag [PDF], with positive results.
The company is also releasing two pure bio-ethanol air heaters, both a 3.8 kilowatt version for larger vehicles and 2.2 kilowatt version for smaller cars called the Airtronic E-Mobility E2 (E2). Both the E4S and E2 can run on E85, the name for biofuel that is a blend of 85% ethanol.
Advancements like the E4S and E2 from Eberspaecher show how progress in electric cars isn’t always centered around the vehicle manufacturers themselves, but specialized components, much like lithium-ion batteries, that can make the technology more efficient, and someday, hopefully cheaper.
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