The emergence of “Brace Yourself” memes regarding the cold season will soon begin in the Northern Hemisphere, and with it will come the freezing temperatures of winter. This year, though, GM’s European subsidiary, Opel, has a solution for those who may not have the luxury of parking their car in temperature-controlled garages: the Opel parking heater.
The parking heater will warm up the entire car, including the cabin while defrosting the windshield and windows, thereby making ice-scraping, iced up door locks and fogged-up windows all a thing of the past.
How It’s Activated
The parking heater can be activated in advance by remote control. It can be programmed to run for a certain amount of time or the customer can store a desired drive-off time. A temperature sensor then registers the exterior and interior temperature and automatically calculates the switch-on time and the necessary operation duration.
Depending on the exterior temperature, 20 to 30 minutes is generally sufficient to thaw the windscreen and side windows, and preheat the interior to a comfortable temperature. By default, the Opel parking heater is set for an operating time of 30 minutes, but this can be easily extended or shortened.
How It Works
A water heater (supplied by Eberspächer or Webasto, depending on the model) is operated by fuel from the fuel tank and an electrical current from the vehicle’s battery, which is always live, regardless of whether or not the car is running or not. Then, a dosing pump operated by the battery supplies the combustion chamber with fuel from the fuel tank, where it is mixed with air for a combustible fuel-air mix.
At the same time, an additional water pump (electric circulation pump) forces water through the cooling circuit. The heat generated in the combustion chamber heats up the cooling water in the heater, while the resulting exhaust fumes are expelled through a separate exhaust with a muffler, which means that operating the parking heater is not permitted in a garage or in a filling station. After a certain temperature is reached, an electric circulation pump distributes the heat into the interior cabin via the car’s blower. Pretty neat, huh?
The parking heater has a heating output of 5 kW and can be used as a “parking heater” when the engine is switched off, or as an “auxiliary heater” while driving if the exterior temperature falls below 6 degrees Celsius, at which point it becomes the perfect complement to the extremely efficient new Opel engines, which Opel says “give off very little heat themselves” while ensuring a comfortable interior climate. The heater automatically shuts off at an engine/cooling water temperature of more than 78 degrees Celsius.
The Opel parking heater is available directly from the factory as an integrated system as well as a retrofit kit for installed on vehicles without it.
Customers who have not had the heater installed on their vehicles from the factory can have it installed by their Opel dealer in the following Opel-Vauxhall vehicles: Vivaro, Movano, Corsa, Astra, Astra GTC, Cascada, Meriva, Mokka, and Insignia, as well as the Zafira Tourer. It starts from 1,400 Euro (RRP including VAT in Germany).
Not Remote Start
The system is similar to the remote-start feature offered on most GM vehicles in North America in that it can be activated in advance (from outside the vehicle), but is different than remote-start in that the vehicle doesn’t undergo a cold-start, thereby reducing toxic emissions and lessening the wear and tear on the engine and catalytic converter.
With a warm start, the oil and the catalytic converter reach their operating temperatures more quickly, while decreasing toxic emissions along with wear and tear.