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Heated door seals

Won't crush children's fingers like Tesla's solution to this problem.
  [vote for,

I've owned a lot of vehicles from a lot of manufacturers. Ford, Mercury, Honda, Mitsubishi, Toyota, etc and they've all had a design weakness when it comes to winter: the doors can become frozen shut. Tesla is, to my knowledge, the first company to offer some sort of solution to the problem, in the form of an actuating metal rod that forces the door open in such a scenario. But I find that to be such an... inelegant solution, and in at least one instance a child's finger was crushed when she put it in a little hole in the rod and it retracted.

Why not just heat the damn door seals with a wire running along their length embedded in the rubber?

21 Quest, Jan 11 2024


       What’s the mileage hit after defrosting the doors?   

       On a really cold night will you be able to make it to the charger after defrosting?
minoradjustments, Jan 11 2024

       Have a diesel burner in the lower sill with heat pipes running around the edge of the door. Then you don't need to worry about the battery drain.
pocmloc, Jan 11 2024

       <Attenborough>"...and here we see the Heated Door Seal in its native habitat. This rare species of seal has some fascinating adaptations to very cold weather..."</Attenborough>
hippo, Jan 11 2024

       Minoradjustments, don't most EV owners have the car plugged in overnight at home? I drive a gas vehicle lol
21 Quest, Jan 11 2024

       I've never run into this problem, but then I don't live in part of the world where the right type of icing conditions conditions exist. I know people who live on the shores of the great lakes, they can have ludicrous icing issues.   

       I suspect that before Tesla went for a mechanical solution, being Tesla, they would have first considered the elegant electrical solution. I think that means it was rejected.   

       To get to the bottom of why, I suspect you'd have to consider the time frame. You need to get the door seal area above zero Celsius. That includes the seals and any ice that has accumulated. Melting ice is incredibly expensive in terms of energy expenditure. For example the rear screen heater in my car is around 160W, and we know how slow those can be at melting any significant ice build up. Deploying this kind of power to a door seal vs embedded in glass might be difficult. Sealing materials are usually good insulators and intolerant of high temperatures, however you might mitigate this with silicone.   

       So, how is the heating controlled? Presumably, you'd need to do this remotely and for a good period beforehand, with the prevalence of car-connected apps, this is eminently doable. If you're pre-heating all the parts of the car, it does start to add up in terms of energy. 200W each for front and rear screens, say 50W for both side mirrors and 100W for each door, another 100W for the seats, that's in the neighborhood of a kWhr. Not much for an electric car, but a good chunk of a regular car battery when it's performance is already impacted by the cold temperatures.   

       In the pursuit of solutions to problems, I often look to people who have a similar, but much bigger version of the problem I'm looking to solve. In this situation, it's aircraft and their anti icing equipment. Heating is used, but less commonly than inflatable boots that physically break off the ice.
bs0u0155, Jan 11 2024

       If you're already using remote start to warm the interior, the engine would be running so the battery expenditure isn't much of an issue. I'd gladly pay the difference in fuel cost.
21 Quest, Jan 11 2024

       Just spray some WD40 around the door frame one in a while.
a1, Jan 11 2024

       [21] After the lovely 3-hour symphony you go out to the car park and note that you can’t open anything on the deluxe SUV cabin cruiser you love so much. Everything is solidly encased in ice and rime. Cars all around you have the same problem but they quickly call an Uber and share rides out of there in the freezing cold. You, on the other hand, flip the Defrost switch on your fob and wave goodbye to the happy throng leaving in droves. They said it would work, didn’t they? It does work.   

       The morning dawns and all the cars are still encased in ice except for yours. Beautifully exposed from under the ice, with all doors and hatches working perfectly, the EMTs try to break you out of the pillar of ice that has encased you as you waited for the doors to be released. The doors open but the car won’t start.
minoradjustments, Jan 12 2024

       “…the coroner’s report found that the car’s new heated door seals were a significant contributing factor to the deceased’s unfortunate demise. By making it possible for him to drive in colder and icier conditions than before, he was exposed to dangerously slippery road surfaces, solely as a result of purchasing and installing the heated door seals manufactured by Quest Inc. His widow, who discovered his lifeless body and wrecked car in a ditch a short distance from their home, is launching today, together with grieving relatives of other heated-door-seal-related crash victims, a class action lawsuit against Quest Inc.”
hippo, Jan 12 2024

       I don't know anyone who has chosen NOT to drive because the door was hard to open, but I do know several people who've broken door handles or scratched the shit out of their paint trying to pry the door open. There's also the tried and true pour boiling water over it method. The idea here is just to make it easier that's all.   

       And minor, good luck finding any rideshares around here when it gets that cold lol   

       ("Rideshare" is such a funny word for what Uber and Lyft are. It's like saying "donate" when you sell plasma. They aren't sharing a goddamn thing lol)
21 Quest, Jan 12 2024

       //The idea here is just to make it easier that's all.//   

       There will be an army of people who think about things like this a lot. They definately do cold weather testing in places like scandinavia and put the cars in giant freezers, just as they do hot weather testing and altitude testing. I imagine it's a huge fight between competing priorities. The people who think about water management probably want large panel gaps with big meaty seals well away from the surface so water has lots of opportunity to drain away and big gaps to bridge when frozen. The styling people probably want frameless windows, tiny panel gaps, delicate sealing rubber, and some clever buried door handle. The ergonomics people, probably with support from the water people, want big chunky door handles, but the aerodynamics people don't like that. The manufacturing people would prefer it if we just continued making the 1940's Willy's Jeep.   

       I wonder if cars designed/engineered in cold environments manage cold problems better? Are Volvo's better than Seat*? At least with Saab, the makers were so obsessed with aerodynamics that they partially faired in the front wheels on the 96. As a result, driving along in a straight line led to a build up of snow inside the wheel arch. When a corner came along, the packed snow prevented the wheel from turning. A harsh lesson to learn.   

       *As far as car brand identity is linked to countries any more.
bs0u0155, Jan 12 2024

       I see this as one of things like heated mirrors. Nobody thought of that, and most would have probably scoffed at the idea, until someone did it. And now it's a standard feature on almost every car. This doesn't have to completely melt all the ice on the door, just warm up the bit of frost that gets inside the seal enough that you can pull it open.
21 Quest, Jan 12 2024

       //doesn't have to completely melt all the ice on the door// - what?! I want to activate this and see an immediate puff of high-pressure steam from all the doors!
hippo, Jan 12 2024

       Well THAT might just deplete your battery there, sir.
21 Quest, Jan 12 2024

       Quick release doors are the answer - just flick up a lever when you park and the doors can be popped off and brought indoors each evening, where they can join you as you sit around a nice warm fire. In the morning, you simply re-attach them and drive away.
xenzag, Jan 14 2024


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