Jamie Tuinstra explains how unit heaters can optimize your EV’s charging performance


Garage spaces have become multi-purpose areas in homes over the years. For some, it’s additional living space. For others, it’s a workshop that allows the owner to perform personal projects. But with temperatures beginning to drop and winter on the horizon, now would be a great time to begin thinking about heating solutions for your garage. If you are the owner of an electric vehicle, the importance of having a heated garage is heightened. Extreme temperatures can negatively impact electric vehicles by limiting or slowing the vehicle’s ability to charge.

Cold temperatures can reduce an EV’s range by 20 percent, according to Consumer Reports. The reason for this lies in the impact on the battery chemistry when parked and the drain needed to maintain battery temperature and supply cabin heat. While EVs are known for being a more cost-effective way of traveling compared to their gasoline alternatives, more energy is needed to charge the vehicle when they are in a colder climate. Therefore, it’s important to house your EV in a tempered environment that is optimal for charging. Owners who choose to park their vehicles in a garage need to consider installing a heating unit to optimize their vehicle’s charging ability.

Utilize a unit heater to maximize EV charging
Having a conditioned space for your electric vehicle is the best way to ensure you are getting the most out of your EV’s charging ability. While increasing the coverage of your home’s existing HVAC unit is an option, unit heaters are the best solution for heating your garage. Unit heaters provide a permanent heat source, which allows your vehicle to be in a proper charging environment. Once they are installed in your garage, you can maintain your desired temperature 24/7 as opposed to other alternative solutions.

Many portable or space heaters are less efficient despite their lower upfront costs. Portable and space heaters typically burn LP fuel that only provides heat temporarily. For you to maintain a temperature optimal for EV vehicles, you would have to run the heaters for several hours, which could be unsafe.

The size of Modine’s unit heaters is also a positive benefit for those looking to install permanent heat solutions. Its smaller size leaves a reduced footprint in your garage, which is important for those looking to maintain ample space. Many unit heaters can be tucked away or hung from the ceiling to provide more storage space.

Diversity with unit heaters
While unit heaters are a great solution for keeping your garage heated for your electric vehicle, it is important to install the right one for your home. Three of the main types of unit heaters for garages are power-vented gas-fired unit heaters, separated combustion gas-fired units, and hydronic unit heaters.

Power-vented gas-fired unit heaters are low-profile, lightweight units designed to be easily installed one inch from the ceiling with only two angle brackets. These units run on natural or propane gas.

The separated combustion unit draws 100 percent of the combustion air from outside, making it a great choice for areas where flammable materials are regularly used. This unit reduces common concerns regarding dusty, dirty, or humid applications. The sealed compartment provides a barrier for the combustion gas valve, ignition control, manifold, and burners from the environment. Operating on natural or propane gas, the heater has 100 percent shut-off with continuous retry to allow for safe ignition.

For homes that operate with a boiler system, hydronic unit heaters are the optimal choice. These units act as a complementary piece that ties into the boiler system. The unit heater extracts heat from the hot water and uses it to efficiently warm the space. When it comes to maintaining desired room temperatures, the unit can withstand lower temperatures or can be kept at 70 degrees. The internal coil can handle water pressures up to 150 PSI and temperature up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Create the optimal charging space
When it comes to owning an electric vehicle in areas that receive colder winters, it is vital to create a conditioned space to improve charging performance for your vehicle. While it’s true that EVs can charge in any climate, it’s less efficient when charging in cold conditions. By installing a unit heater in your garage, you can provide a permanent heating source that is efficient and cost-effective. More reliable and safe than portable heating options, unit heaters will create an ample amount of heat to ensure you get the charging performance you desire. If you have an electric vehicle, consider installing a unit heater in your garage.

Jamie Tuinstra
Jamie Tuinstra is Product Manager at Modine. Modine HVAC specializes wide variety of heating and air conditioning units that include unit heaters, commercial rooftop HVAC systems, classroom HVAC and more; providing reliable and efficient HVAC systems in various climate conditions