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The Car Interior Preheater could make winter a little more tolerable

By

November 22, 2011

The Car Interior Preheater is a portable, battery-powered device that warms up the inside ...

The Car Interior Preheater is a portable, battery-powered device that warms up the inside of vehicles before the driver gets in

Of the various "joys" of winter, one of the biggest has got to be getting into a frozen-solid automobile, then sitting and shivering as you wait for the inside of the windshield to defrost. Many people instead opt for remote engine starters, although these must be professionally installed, plus they waste fuel while also creating air pollution - some cities have even passed anti-idling bylaws, to limit their harmful effects. So, what's a winter wimp to do? Well, they can now buy the Car Interior Preheater.

The portable device sits on the dashboard, and draws power from an integrated rechargeable battery to blow hot air throughout the inside of your car. It has two adjustable-angle vents, so one can be pointed at the windshield, while the other directs its toasty goodness towards the seats.

It can be set to start as much as 20 minutes before you enter the car, or it can be started simply when you think of it, using a remote with a range of 200 feet (61 meters). Recharging is accomplished through an AC outlet or an in-car power port, and takes four hours.

The gadget won't preheat your engine, needless to say, but then that's what block heaters are for. One question that does arise, however: could a particularly cold night cause its battery to conk out? Only one way to find out ... the Car Interior Preheater sells for US$119.95 through Hammacher Schlemmer.

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth
21 Comments

What a complete and utter waste of space this thing is! Over here in Finland we have car interior heaters that run off the same circuit as the engine block heaters! Normally in the passenger side footwell there will be a standard size plug socket. Into this you plug something like the Defa Termin 2100 and mount it to the side of the footwell angled to face into the car. Then when ever the block heater is turned on, this is also activated! So the engine and the interior are both well warmed when you get into the car!

Gareth James
23rd November, 2011 @ 02:13 am PST

Gareth, as far as I know, we had those too, in Saskatchewan, in the 1970s and 80s (I don't live there or own a car now so cannot speak to now)... you plug in the engine block heater and the interior car warmer which goes down by the passenger side footwell. I have no idea why this might be "news".

Leanne Franson
23rd November, 2011 @ 03:58 am PST

Dunno what you guys are whining about. I think this is brilliant and if I wasn't in Arizona and didn't have a Toyota Echo dashboard I'd jump at the opportunity to buy one.

stimpy77
23rd November, 2011 @ 08:35 am PST

Are you suggesting to run a 2100 to 3300W device from your car battery while the engine is off? It'll suck over 175A and thus in 20 Minutes depletes 58Ah from your battery. Even most fully charged diesel car batteries will be to weak to start the engine after that torture.

This device is for the poor folks that have to park at the roadside, far from power outlets. The Idea is probably to take it out of the car, charge at home or work and put it back into the car in the evening so it can heat in the morning.

The available devices to be run from the car battery have been around 120W and were useless by design. So if this thing actually works, it's great news for me.

EinSascha
23rd November, 2011 @ 08:36 am PST

That this thing is battery powered is innovative- regular in-car heaters, as the other commenters have said, are AC-powered, on the same circuit as your block heater. But I don't see the battery pack of a $119 device making much of a difference to -30 temperatures. This is probably meant for people who occasionally see sub-freezing temps, not for those of us who live in places with real winters.

Duane Phillips
23rd November, 2011 @ 09:23 am PST

This is not even news:

"We regret that this item is no longer available."

C'mon gizmag readers so you have bought the store out in just about six hours since this article was posted?

nehopsa
23rd November, 2011 @ 09:41 am PST

@EinSascha - No they are talking about a vehicle that is connected to mains power. In the places where temps stay below freezing for long periods cars come standard with a block heater that runs on mains power. Apparently in some places they connect that circuit to an outlet in the car to run a heater.

VirtualGathis
23rd November, 2011 @ 09:47 am PST

This is redundant. When I plugged in my block heater I always left my vehicle's heater turned on so the fluid could circulate on into the interior and warm it as well.

YukonJack
23rd November, 2011 @ 10:08 am PST

I use a highly efficient 150watt heating element that gives light as a byproduct.

Slowburn
23rd November, 2011 @ 10:33 am PST

My wife will love this !!!!

Richie Suraci
23rd November, 2011 @ 11:04 am PST

"We regret that this item is no longer available."

Good riddance.

People, throw the junk out of your garage and park your CAR in there.

Captain Obvious
23rd November, 2011 @ 11:32 am PST

re; Captain Obvious

Can't, four car family with two car garage.

Slowburn
23rd November, 2011 @ 12:27 pm PST

I'm glad all the complainers have garages and/or outside outlets. For the majority of us who live in apartments or don't have garages or outside outlets this is an awesome device! And if you're averaging -30 degrees in winter, your means of transport should probably be some husky dogs hitched up to a sled for when you need to leave the igloo. ;-) This will do just nicely for the rest of us.

Gizmag users could very likely sell this thing out. Right after finishing the article I thought what a great present this would make for my brother and his wife for when they'll need to take my 10-month-old nephew to daycare in the winter. They can just click the remote control by a window then the car will be nice and toasty by the time they bring the baby out to the car. The Northeast U.S.A. might not average -30, but we have cold winters too.

alcalde
23rd November, 2011 @ 06:37 pm PST

"And if you're averaging -30 degrees in winter, your means of transport should probably be some husky dogs hitched up to a sled for when you need to leave the igloo. ;-) "

I bet you didn't know that quite a bit of the Midwest sees those kinds of temps in January and February.

Darren Johnson
24th November, 2011 @ 11:45 am PST

re; EinSascha

Yes, a second battery would seem to be necessary component.

Slowburn
24th November, 2011 @ 03:48 pm PST

Does no one see that it says it draws power from an INTEGRATED battery, not the battery in your car, although it would seem likely that it draws power from your car battery to recharge while your driving but maby its charged from inside a house.

I think this is a good idea if it actualy could heat up your car when its decently cold out, but even if it just warmed it up so it was freezing.

Nathaneal Blemings
25th November, 2011 @ 01:13 pm PST

A fuel powered parking heater also heats the engine to decrease engine wear caused by cold starts, and does not require an ugly gadget in the interior of the car. See for example

Kenneth Österberg
27th November, 2011 @ 03:33 pm PST

Hammacher Schlemmer sells a lot of gadgets that do not work as advertised but look good on paper. Easy to calculate the power output needed from its little battery to warm 50 cubic feet of interior space by 30F degrees and see if it is feasible.

Even if it worked initially as the battery ages the usable charge is going to decrease to 50% and then the device ends up in the nearest landfill with all the other stuff that Hammacher Schlemmer and similar companies sell to a gullible public.

Calson
28th November, 2011 @ 11:08 am PST

Anyone capable of converting battery energy to heat will know that this device is utterly ridiculous. No doubt however there will be consumer-shop-bots that buy it and claim that a little warm air (and it will be little and of short duration) is actually heating up a cold vehicle.

grtbluyonder
29th November, 2011 @ 01:33 pm PST

Yea, Captain Obvious. 'No Longer Available' WHY would GizMag's staff tout something which IS 'No Longer Available' from the only known supplier?! Better to have a mains power supplied coolant heater/pump - IF (and that's a BIG if) you DO have mains electric available to your vehicle. That leaves millions of drivers (literally) "out in the cold". (pun intended)

I run a 3-prong (grounded) extension cord (16 gauge) from an indoor AC outlet under the weather strip of the outside door of my 'mud room' to the device under my car's hood (bonnet). I simply switch-on the electric about an hour before I leave for work and I have PLENTY of heat coming from the vents as soon as I turn the key. Of course I installed a 1kw unit in my 4-banger. At a cost of US$0.15/kwh it costs me only US$0.75 per week for a warm car interior, warm lubricated engine versus US$3.30/gal for gas (petrol) I WOULD be burning letting it warm-up and associated piston/cylinder wall wear. What IS needed is some sort of remote pre-heater/starter which runs off an auxiliary vehicle battery - but WHERE to put the extra battery?

Larry
21st January, 2012 @ 08:05 pm PST

I think this is a brilliant battery opeterated portable heater, I've been looking for this a long time and now it's not available? Imagine a harsh Canadian winter, if I fully charged this heater at home the night before, and park my car outdoor in the office all day long. The pre-set timer will kicks in 20 min before 5pm to help me melt the freezing rain/ snow on the windsheld without draining car battery. I can just hop into my pre-heated car and leave without scrapping off the ice for another 10min outside -30C. When is this available again? I'm going to wholesale it for all Canadians!! That's a product for people who goes to work everyday and park outdoor.

TechGuy
15th November, 2012 @ 11:34 am PST
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