Remote Defrost

by Ben N on November 20, 2016


Winter hit yesterday. It was a huge overnight temperature drop, and we got a little snow. That’s OK, because it’s a great opportunity for me to show of one of my favorite features on the car, REMOTE DEFROST and PRE-HEAT!

Nearly every plug-in car has some sort of similar feature. A car owner can pre-heat their car on a cold winter morning, using power from the wall instead of from the battery. On many cars, this can be set on a timer, or controlled through a smart phone. In the case of my Mitsubishi iMiEV electric car, it’s pretty basic, just using an electronic key fob.

For starters, the car DOES have to be plugged in. To get the power from the wall, the car needs to be connected to it. Seeing as how nearly every plug-in car driver simply plugs their car into the wall every night, this is already done.

Some cars can also be programmed to do a pre-heat at a certain time. That’s great for a regular commute. For me, I’m self employed and my scheduled is different every day. I manually start the pre-heat as I’m finishing getting ready to leave.

On the fob, (from inside my warm house…)  I press the power button. The fob activates and shows the battery status and some other information. (Normally, this would show the battery being fully charged, as I typically do this first thing in the morning before leaving for the day. In the video, I filmed the fob after I had already been driving for the day)


Next, pressing the MODE button changes to the timer setting and then again to get to the HVAC mode. Selecting the side arrow buttons cycle through the DEFROST, COOL, and HEAT settings. In this case, I’m using the DEFROST mode. HEAT only directs the heat down to the footwell area. DEFROST directs the heat to the windshield and also actives the rear electric defrost. On my car, the trim level also included heated outside mirrors. Those also activate, and get warm enough to melt thick ice right off the glass.

Pressing the power button again on the fob transmits to the car and activates the pre-heat feature. The heat will run until the car is unplugged, or 30 minutes, whichever comes first. I’ve found diminishing returns running the heat for more than 10-15 minutes. 15 minutes is generally the longest it takes to completely melt snow and ice off the car, all without ever brushing or scraping.

wet windshield

Besides the advantage of melting snow and warming up the passenger compartment, the pre-heat also means that the car’s regular heating system is instantly hot. This car uses a traditional system of coolant cycled from a heater to a heater core, where air then blows through it. This is exactly like a gas car system, except that the heat source is an electric heater, instead of the engine. Of course, in this case, I don’t have to run an engine. That means no wasted fuel from idling and it’s also a major advantage when the car is parked in an enclosed garage – no carbon monoxide!

I love the pre-heat system on my car. It’s great to hop in to a warm car on a cold morning!

‘Til next time, Stay Warm!

PS: If you are considering purchasing a used iMiEV electric car, make sure the fob is included! I’m surprised how often these are lost or not included, and it is the ONLY way to access the pre-heating and timer features.

PPS: If you live in a hot weather area, the Pre-Air-Conditioning is a great summer feature! You can CHILL down your car before you hop in!

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