Heated seats — once reserved for upscale cars — are now a common standard feature in low-cost electric cars.
But the heated seats aren’t just a luxury perk, Chuck Russell, chief engineer for the all-electric Chevrolet Spark and plug-in hybrid Volt, told Business Insider: They are a more efficient way to warm people up.
We got an early look at the new all-electric Spark, and were surprised to find out that the little car, which will start at less than $25,000 (after a $7,500 federal tax credit), will come with heated seats.
Applying heat directly to the body, instead of slowly warming up the air inside the car, is faster, Russell said, and it saves energy.
That consideration is especially important in electric cars. Limited battery power is a crucial shortcoming of EV technology, and saving what power today’s batteries do offer is key.
Companies making EVs today seem to have gotten the message. According to shopping comparison site Find The Best, electric cars that come with heated front seats as a standard feature include the Ford Focus Electric, Nissan Leaf, Honda Fit EV, Mitsubishi MiEV, and Tesla Model S.
With the exception of the Model S, these are not luxury cars. They all start for less than $40,000.
But because they need to save power, their owners get a nice bonus, even if they don’t know why.
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