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Heated Steering Wheel

Discussion in 'Model S: User Interface' started by tnawara, Mar 29, 2012.

  1. MarkR

    MarkR Member

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    Has anyone noticed a switch for a refrigerated steering wheel on any of the Betas? When it's 117 degrees in the shade (and no shade in sight), the LAST thing I need is a heated steering wheel - I could easily do without the heated seats too!

    Funny that no one has suggested "refrigerated tush control."
     
  2. DrComputer

    DrComputer Active Member

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    Oh, I have made my dissatisfaction known to Tesla employees that they car does not have cooled seats. The only consolation it that you can cool the car remotely thereby reducing the need for cooled seats (and steering wheel).
     
  3. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    I think this will make a huge difference. I've never owned a car that I can remotely heat or cool so don't know how much of a difference it will make in the summer though. Will definitely be better than stepping into a hot car I think.
     
  4. gjunky

    gjunky Trifecta: Solar and both cars are EVs

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    Cooled seats have been asked for before, and if I remember correctly, the response from Tesla was that it would not be in this model version (so perhaps in the future?). I asked for this at the October Event also.

    Cooling your car remotely won't help the steering wheel problem as it heats up through direct sun light and unless you happen to have the vents pointed directly at them, it will still get hot. I really depends on the material of the steering wheel though. The steering wheel in my VW gets warm but never really too hot to handle.

    @MarkR: I use my heated seats all the time here in Scottsdale in the winter. I like it better than having the warm air blowing on you.
     
  5. strider

    strider Active Member

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    If they're using the SolarGuard windshield like in the Roadster this will not be a problem. I can leave my car sitting in the sun all day and steering wheel gets warm but not hot. And cooling the car will help cool the steering wheel, but with the sun shining on it won't be 70F but it won't be 100F either.
     
  6. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    I would think with solar guard and the cabin temp at 70 degrees for ten minutes the steering wheel should at least be comfortable enough to touch.
     
  7. 100thMonkey

    100thMonkey Member

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    before owning an EV I would have said a heated steering wheel was a ridiculous luxury for those with money to burn. this winter with the Leaf it became clear that heating an EV is a whole other kettle of fish compared to an ICE. the resistive heater in the Leaf can consume half the cars range in cold whether if not used very judiciously. Even with the prewarming function, it was still a challenge to do trips in the winter time that I easily did in the summer. Toward the end of this last winter I traded up from the 2011 Leaf to the 2012 with cold whether package. turns out heated seats and steering wheel are a must for EV's! the larger battery in the S is only going to mean i will want to push the limits of range further with more freedom. I am sure that there will be times where I will need to turn down the heater to extend the range. In the Leaf, you can turn off the climate control, which can use up to 4.5 kw and turn on the heated seats and steering wheel and only use a few hundred watts. the direct transfer of heat from the seats and steering wheel to the body is much more efficient it was really eye opening... and heating the hands appears to warm the body surprisingly well.

    I was told last week that the leather option of the S would come with heated seats but there was no word on having a heated steering wheel option. I honestly have a hard time imagining that the heater in the S is so much more efficient and the battery so much larger that I would not still want to conserve range at least some of the time by using the heated seats and steering wheel instead of relying as much on the cabin heater. I hope the S comes with a heated seat/steering wheel option, they can make a huge difference in comfort!
     
  8. smorgasbord

    smorgasbord Active Member

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    In Roadster manual, they recommend using the heated seats instead of heating the cabin. I imagine that a heated steering wheel consumes even less electricity than heated seats.

    It's a major bummer it's not included on Model S, because the Mercedes stalks and wheel they use already had that functionality built-in. Should have been almost a no-brainer to connect it up.
     
  9. MikeK

    MikeK R#129, TSLA shareholder

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    I actually keep gloves in my glove compartment (amazing!) for driving in cool weather. I would be delighted to have a heated wheel.
     
  10. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    If it's already there, is it possible it's something they didn't get around to and could add later with software or is it missing the physical connection?
     
  11. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    I hope they have a way to turn off the air flow, or rather limit the air flow to just enough to prevent humidity build-up.

    On a couple of occasions I've driven the Roadster long distances in cold weather with the cabin heat off, using only the seat heater. I found a lot of cold air comes into the cabin at highway speeds. Eventually I discovered that if you set the controls to dashboard vents and then close all the vents the air flow is kept to a comfortable minimum - just enough to keep the air fresh and humidity low so the windshield doesn't fog up (unless you hit a stop light, in which case you have to turn on the defog and heat briefly). If the Model S could handle this automatically, i.e. a seat heater only mode, then it would be very handy for those times when you are pushing the range in winter.
     
  12. NigelM

    NigelM Recovering Member

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    ^ This is why people move to Florida.
     
  13. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    It's full of foreigners (Americans).
     
  14. NigelM

    NigelM Recovering Member

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    Ever heard of Canadian Snowbirds? :wink:
     
  15. 100thMonkey

    100thMonkey Member

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    that's exactly the kind of thing I'm getting at. I think for folks who haven't driven an EV through a cold winter it's one of those "don't know what you don't know" kind of things. Prospective buyers would likely have no idea how key something like a heated steering wheel could be for when it comes down to those last few miles of range and you are faced with conserving energy or getting towed. One of the peculiarities of the Leaf, a significant design oversight, is that you can't just turn on the fan and focus it on the windshield, you have to have CC on and defrost set. You end up in a tug of war between trying to see and getting where you need to go and being comfortable, as the defrost cools and dries the air, requiring that it be heated, a serious energy hog rang killer spiral. they are coming out with a heat pump for the 2013 Leaf, which would be nice to see on the S as well. In the Leaf the only other option is to put the mode to foot/defog and turn the CC off, which turns the circulating fan off, relying on passive air circulation from the forward movement of the car. Since there is no defog mode without foot, you end up with freezing feet. With a better climate control set up and heated seats and steering wheel, even 45 degrees in the cabin can be reasonably tolerable for the occasional long haul stretches. I too have wanted to be able to adjust the amount of air coming in from the outside to, when needed, bring it down to a minimum, just enough to keep the windshield clear and not so much to cool the cabin down requiring more heating. I suspect that even though most of the time the S's large battery will make this a non-issue, that for at least the long trips, it would be very nice if they thought through the heating/cooling/defrost/ energy conservation options on the S... clearly the typical set up for an ICE is just not a good match for an EV.

    I really hope I get to spend some substantial time with the S to see if it is really designed with the nuances required by not having all that waste combustion heat to use liberally. while automation is a trend in cars with the use of full "auto" mode, with an EV, there are times where you want full manual mode and be able to choose how much air is coming in from the outside and exactly where it is going. Hopefully Tesla has put some quality energy into this often overlooked scenario.


     
  16. strider

    strider Active Member

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    These kinds of discussions are precisely the wrong ones to be having. You should have a large enough battery pack to get where you're going without thinking about these kinds of things. That's why I bought a Roadster and not a Leaf. I don't want to have to sacrifice my comfort or think that hard. If I want to run the AC I should run the AC. I've never used the seat heaters in my car instead of the heater. If I'm cold I turn on the heater.
     
  17. Robert.Boston

    Robert.Boston Model S VIN P01536

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    You live in the SF Bay area, Strider, where "cold" is a lot different than "cold" in places where we really get winter. If you're not plugged in, there will be a significant energy savings from heated seats and steering wheel, vs. cabin warming. Cranking the heated seats responds much more quickly than trying to warm those same surfaces by indirect warming from the air. I welcome get toasty, fast, when getting in my car after skiing in -10F weather.
     
  18. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    While 99% of the time I don't worry about range with the Roadster, you can still get into some cold-weather range issues.

    My adventure with cold was caused by my desire to go to an advanced driving school in Toronto in the early spring. Naturally I put on the A048 sticky tires the night before. The next morning, surprise! Freezing temperatures. What I didn't realize is that A048's are total bricks at that temperature, and my range went to hell, about 75% of normal. It would have been 90% of normal on my regular tires.

    Here I was thinking it would just be a quick top-up in Peterborough, and instead when I arrived I was almost into the reserve (i.e. when the Roadster stops telling you the range). I was also a little chilled, but not frozen, thanks to the seat heater. Of course when I arrived in Toronto the weather was quite toasty. Grrr!!!
     
  19. 100thMonkey

    100thMonkey Member

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    Don't get me wrong, one of the main reasons I'm attracted to the S is for it's extended range. I don't want to have to think about range as much on a day to day basis as I have had to with the Leaf. On the other hand, when I want to turn down the screws and stretch the range I want to know the S has the tools I will need to do so with maximum comfort and precision. The Leaf, once mastered, allows for precisely predicting and extending range and staying reasonably comfortable. I have learned how to drive it down to the last mile with little stress, knowing just how fast I can go to get where I need to. For instance, for now, there are no Fast chargers between the end of the current WCGH in Ashland Oregon and Sacramento CA (where my wife's family lives), a distance of just under 300 miles. I know Tesla says there will be superchargers conveniently located along i-5, but for now, there are no Tesla stations and lots of WCGH AV stations (every 25 miles in southern OR). If I can control energy consumption, I can accurately predict how far the car will go, even taking elevation gain into account and possibly make it to Sacramento without having to stop. There are a zillion other scenarios where being able to control energy consumption will be helpful and a heated steering wheel can make a huge difference, IMHO.

     
  20. MikeK

    MikeK R#129, TSLA shareholder

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    I don't like to have hot air blowing on me. It makes me feel stuffy and even groggy. On the other hand, being warmed by a seat heater is very comfortable. The problem is that my hands get cold. That's why I keep driving gloves in the car. I'd rather have a heated wheel, and not have to deal with the gloves.
     

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