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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Had a flash of insight :wink: just now as I got into my frigid Insight for the test drive.
Everytime we get home from our commute, the car is warm. the block, coolant, transmission, gas?, batteries, are all good and hot. By next morning it is all cold again. (except for the people that heat their garages)
What if we saved that heat overnight by building a super insulated foil faced foam garage for the insight, so the heat is retained, the other end of you commute is still a problem, but this takes care of the overnight.
I have made solar heat storage drums that are insulated with a 2" wall version of this box, and it works quite well. The construction plan below would allow 4" of insulation on all sides, with 2" on the floor. Thats some serious insulation, it should retain much of the heat in the car, and could be suplimented with a small electric RV heater.

1. Start by making two wood ramps wide enough for the front and back wheels of the insight with maybe 6"extra width wide planks of 2X12's or whatever to make up the necessary width. The thermal pod will be 8 feet wide and just long enough to fit the car, or the full 16' for more room.

2" thick foil faced hard foam insulation is our building material. For extra insulation and strength, make it two layers thick or 4" total, bridging the seams for rigidity.
Stand up one sheet, and attach it to the roof, then to another wall. 4 feet wide, 8 ' tall, and 8 ' wide. The joints are taped with foil tape. A big U, Tape two 4X8 panels to the outside of the U, to form a box.
Make 3 more of these three panel U and attach them to thelbuilding. to make a rectangular insulated box. 8X16 X 8 tall. Room to sparefor the Insight
Have the open end of the box held on with bungy cords.
The car is in a thermal storage unit. I would estimate it would be >70 in the box by morning, even on a real cold night.


Conserve that thermal energy :wink:
 

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The 04+ Prius has a Thermos already. It gets pumped into it when you shut the car down and keeps it warm for about 3 days or so. Maybe you could retrofit one of these out of a Prius?
 

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Ok Mike I think your electronics genius is showing a bit :!: :p

The insulate the _whole_ car concept has several faults.

Its the engine you'd want to keep at temp. The heat will normalize throughout the entire car with this approach according to the thermal mass of each component part. The IMA batteries being one component that would _not_ be desirable to heat beyond a minimal amount.

Ignoring the above simply do the cost / benefit calculations _including_ the losses based on R values (thermal conductance) IMO not much savings there.

The Prius's system keeps the heat where its most desired, in the cooling system. I've thought of transferring this to an Insight (posted way back when). There's the thermos bottle, a 3 way valve and pump. Haven't priced them and what I'd reasonably expect these items to cost it wouldn't be cost effective either. :(

I did email a couple of recyclers but they didn't have a clue as to what I was asking for.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
John
I know that this idea is a bit out there, but I have been working with this foam board with my solar storage drums for a couple of years now, and was impressed with how well it works. A 4"thickwall and celing in a box that is 16X8X8 feet, should retain most of the heat..
The block, radiator, batteries,MPI and inside of the car we can assume will be warm when you drive in, the metal body will be colder. If the box is airtight when closed, the equilibration temp would be about 70f to my estimation? Want more, throw in a 100W bulb.
I could be way off on my estimation? only way to know is to try it.
It is cheaper than insulating and heating the whole garage thats for sure.
On the Prius thermos.
What happens to the 2 gal of warm antifreeze when it hits frozen motor that has 20 or more times the thermal mass. At best I would expect 5-10 degrees temperature rise.
 

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I'm not too sure this would be worth it. If you drive on a cold day, the window glass and the skin of the car don't get warmed very much by the heater. Basically the heater just heats the air, which represents a very small amount of heat. So I think that keeping the engine warm is the sensible goal.

I wonder if you could do this with the engine oil? If the car had a dry sump lubricating system then it would be easy to replace the oil reservoir with a thermos. There are racing car suppliers (e.g. Pegasus) that sell the stuff needed to convert a car to a dry sump system. http://www.pegasusautoracing.com/advcat ... yID=OILING
Look at the Accusump stuff and the oil tank heater...
 

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I don't think the effort involved with what you are describing is worth any gains you may receive. You would be better off with the honda engine block heater pluged into a timer that turns on for say 1/2 an hour before you leave the house.

However, if you insisted on the heated garage idea, I'd just build a hoop-house and park the car in there. These cheap greenhouses can get well over 80 degrees in hard winter climes, and parking the car in an actively warm environment would reap greater rewards, I think.

Look at the picture 3/4 of the way down this page:

http://www.westsidegardener.com/howto/hoophouse.html

Just pull away the plastic, drive in, and close it up behind you. You can make these super-cheap.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Infidel
That would work if the commuting was done at night, but most people commute in the morning, after the car sits in the cold place, so we start off with a frozen car. The car weighs 1800 lbs, the motor and batteries weigh no more that 300 lbs, so the ratio of cold stuff to hot stuff in the thermos would likely balance out to the cold side. A block heater is begining to be a more logical way to go. :wink:
 

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A block heater is a good idea. I have one, not yet installed. But it's a bit of a cheat, isn't it? Supplying extra power from an external source?

I still like the idea of a oil thermos...
 
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