Most of the advantages of electric cars are about efficiency. But in the winter, it’s the very inefficiency of your petrol-powered engine block that keeps your keister from freezing, since waste heat from the combustion process is what makes it through your heating system. On a January morning, your electric vehicle has to divert battery-stored energy through heating elements to keep you warm, and that’s power that isn’t driving the wheels. By some estimates, keeping your EV toasty warm can cut its range by 30 percent.
But some scientists are figuring solution to this problem. A trio at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which includes graduate student Eugene Cho, has developed a thin, transparent film that can store solar energy when the sun is shining, and release it as heat on command. That means that you can use this afternoon’s sunshine to defrost tomorrow morning’s windscreen. Read more