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How strong is A/C in hot climates?


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45 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   lucille

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Posted 12 April 2014 - 07:49 PM

Several questions:

 

1.  In hot climates such as Phoenix, just how well does the A/C work?

 

2.  Has anyone measured the air temp at the outlet registers?

 

3.  Could anyone post specific outside air temps (minimum of 90 degrees F) along with inside air temps for various conditions?

 

4.  How well is the HV battery cooled in higher outside temps?

 

We live in the Atlanta area, bought the CMax at the end of October 2013 and haven't had outside temps higher than the low 80's on a couple of occasions. A trip is planned sometime this summer across the US and back which will involve quite a bit of travel in desert climates. Obviously most of the trip will be in hybrid mode with the ICE running. Hopefully the A/C will perform adequately for both creature comfort and cooling the HV battery.

 

Thanks









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#2 OFFLINE   honemch

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 04:19 AM

I have never measured inside temperature, but have driven plenty of times in 100+ degree heat. The AC stays very cold in the heat.

The benefit of the electric motor running the AC pump is it will run as fast as needed to keep up with the demand of the system as a conventional car is limited by the RPMs of the ICE. Because of this, the AC gets cold fast after turning it on.

Edited by honemch, 14 April 2014 - 04:20 AM.


#3 OFFLINE   fotomoto

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 05:21 AM

Here in south Texas it gets both hot (up to 108 or 109) and humid during the summer and the CMax a/c was excellent last summer.  I also took a 2,500 mile trip through west Texas and New Mexico in August and the a/c was the last thing on my mind.  No worries.   A/C systems work harder to cool humid air than dry. 

 

In the NRG in EV mode with a cold ICE, one thing to watch out for is bumping the temperature UP too much.  If you do, the kW usage can go WAY up.  I believe this is due to the interior heater coming on to raise the temperature of the chilled air instead of blending in some hotter outside air.  Conversely, lowering the temp a couple of degrees will usually drop kW usage in half.  I select the kW usage meter in My View to monitor this.    



#4 OFFLINE   ArizonaEnergi

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 05:49 AM

No problem with the AC doing a good job here in the vast trackless desert, and boy to I love the remote start when walking toward it across a parking lot when its 100F, or even 80F!



#5 OFFLINE   dr61

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 06:58 AM

My wife had our car out on the day it got to 113F here last summer.  The AC worked fine (set at 78F, our usual setting).  The ICE did turn on when started in EV mode after the car was parked in the sun all afternoon, so battery temp went above the threshold temperature Ford sets.



#6 OFFLINE   GaryG

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 09:38 AM

I constantly monitor battery and cabin temperature with my SGII. Heat soak is the biggest problem in my summer with 90 - 95 degree weather, so I had to take corrective measures to protect the battery. I found that the A/C does not do a good job of cooling the cabin to the set temperature on the A/C. For example, if I set the cabin at 72F, most of the time the cabin would only get down to 78F. That still feels cool inside because the outside temperature is in the 90's. My battery temperature was staying close to the limit of 113F where EV stops happening. Getting the battery temperature from 111F with a cabin temperature of 78F just doesn't happen, so here is what I did. I preconditioned the cabin with the A/C set on 60F while plugged-in. This allowed the cabin temperature to drop to 73-75F so the battery temperature wouldn't rise much over 102F while charging. I also had to get the windows tinted with the best tinting I could find  http://www.tintking....automotive.html . I had all windows tinted to the legal limits including the strip on the windshield. My mistake was I didn't get the entire windshield done in a clear Air Blue film at the time. My battery stays under 108F now and with the cabin preconditioned, my EV range has gotten as high as 33.9 miles while still keeping the cabin at around 75F. When the battery is hot, I find the heat mixes with the cabin and puts a higher load on the A/C. The key is, keeping the battery as cool as possible because cooling it down after it gets hot is very hard in hot weather.

 

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#7 OFFLINE   viajero

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 02:30 PM

We live in the Atlanta area, bought the CMax at the end of October 2013 and haven't had outside temps higher than the low 80's on a couple of occasions. A trip is planned sometime this summer across the US and back which will involve quite a bit of travel in desert climates. Obviously most of the trip will be in hybrid mode with the ICE running. Hopefully the A/C will perform adequately for both creature comfort and cooling the HV battery.

 

I've taken a long road trip in the summer, and have a Scangauge to watch the battery temperature.  In hybrid mode with the ICE running the battery temperature reaches equilibrium and doesn't keep increasing.  You can cruise indefinitely with cold A/C and a happy battery powered by the ICE.

 

When driving at highway speeds on EV power, the battery temperature increases much faster than it cools off between charges.  So I can't drive and charge and repeat as fast as the L2 charger would let me.  The battery hits its temperature limit after 2 or 3 such trips on a hot day. 


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#8 OFFLINE   62Lincoln

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 04:12 PM

To the OP: great info posted here, I would add one small common sense item that sometimes gets overlooked... be sure to engage the recirc button for the coolest air (once you've got the a/c up and running). If you are motoring in really hot outside air, the recirc will really help out.


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#9 OFFLINE   lucille

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 05:41 PM

Thanks to everyone for all of the timely responses to this topic. I'm looking forward to our trip through hot climates this summer.

 

There is another concern related to recent repairs to my A/C system which I just posted under a separate topic since it is unrelated to operation of normal systems, which this thread covers. With a car this new in production, I'm sure not too many of you have experienced repairs and recharging of the A/C system, but if anyone does have experience in that area, please read the following thread and post comments:

 

http://fordcmaxenerg...d-in-ac-system/



#10 OFFLINE   rbort

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 07:01 PM

Hi Lucille:

 

Sounds to me like you are asking here and are concerned because you feel that your AC system in your energi is not cooling enough.  And after an accident repair that may very well be, many times sadly the mechanics that work on our cars don't do a better or equal job as to what was done in the factory.  That is the main reason why I try to do everything myself if possible and take it less to the mechanics to do the work.  They work on so many cars, they are trying to get the job done good enough to pass, and they don't care much as its not their ride.

 

If you think the AC is not cooling enough then take it back to them and have them redo the work on it.  If you have a thermometer like the ones you stick in something with a probe, you can stick it in the register and see how cold the air coming out is.  I have not checked my CMAX, no reason to run the AC yet but I remember on my 190e mercedes when the AC was working Good it would blow 40 degree air out.  Temp drop between outside and inside should be at least a 40 degree drop, so if its 80 out should be 40 inside coming from the vents.  Well, that was the case with my 190e.  Have not checked the cmax.

 

Anyways, there is no real way to check to see if there is pag oil in the system without taking the contents out.  At that point you're at service anyways and they can do an evac, vacuum test, and recharge.

 

-=>Raja.



#11 OFFLINE   Smiling Jack

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Posted 17 April 2014 - 06:32 AM

Several questions:

 

..........................

 

2.  Has anyone measured the air temp at the outlet registers? ..................

................

 

Lucille,

 

You are on the right track here for a DIY check of how well your A/C is working.

 

Using a temperature probe in the air discharge vents is something I've done for decades as a first pass check on whether the refrigeration system is working well. 

 

I usually expect to see around 40 degrees, or maybe low 40's in difficult conditions and perhaps high 30's in easy conditions.

 

Here in Houston we've had unseasonably cold temperatures lately.  I did the "easy conditions" test this morning and measured 35 degrees outlet air temperature in the 2013 C-Max Energi.  Conditions were:

 

car soaked at about 70 degrees, in the garage

outside air temperature in the low 60's

measurement taken in the driver's side center stack outlet with all other outlets closed

measurement taken outside in a light rain with overcast sky

measurement taken after the car and A/C were on for about 5 minutes

recirculation on

thermostat set at "LO"

blower varied between low and high speeds.

 

As I said, result was outlet air temperature = 35 degrees.

 

This is the coldest result I have ever seen on any of my cars, and I've been doing the test for decades.  Granted, the conditions were very favorable.  Nevertheless, I'm impressed

 

This is one important benchmark.  The next test is what it will do in hot conditions. 

 

We will probably have strong sun and temperatures in the 90's within a few days here in Houston.  I will test again then and report.

 

Have you made this measurement on your C-max yet?

 

You are also on the right track in asking others here to post their experience in hot climates.  We had some record hot days in Houston last summer.  The C-Max often registered over 100 degrees. It always cooled off from a heat-soaked condition to comfrotable in a few minutes and never struggled to keep the cabin comfortable while motoring in the hot sun.

 

Jack


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#12 OFFLINE   lucille

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 08:05 AM

Finally located my A/C vent thermometer and will test and post results as soon at the temp here in the Atlanta area warms up a little. Might be a few days.



#13 OFFLINE   Smiling Jack

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 09:14 AM

Finally located my A/C vent thermometer and will test and post results as soon at the temp here in the Atlanta area warms up a little. Might be a few days.

 

 

Lucille:

 

You might want to make the measurement under "easy" conditions.  Easy enough to do.  If you can get to 40 degrees or less in conditions that do not challenge the system, then you will have a good benchmark agaist which to comate the result under more challenging conditions.  On the other hand, if you can't get down to 40 under "easy" conditions, then you will not need to wait for hot weather to know you have a problem that needs to be corrected.

 

Jack



#14 OFFLINE   lucille

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 01:32 PM

Lucille:

 

You might want to make the measurement under "easy" conditions.  Easy enough to do.  If you can get to 40 degrees or less in conditions that do not challenge the system, then you will have a good benchmark agaist which to comate the result under more challenging conditions.  On the other hand, if you can't get down to 40 under "easy" conditions, then you will not need to wait for hot weather to know you have a problem that needs to be corrected.

 

Jack

 

 

 

Ran A/C for about 8 minutes on LO with outside temp reading of 58 in light rain. Register vent got down to 41. Of course cheap vent thermometer could easily be off a degree or so.



#15 OFFLINE   Smiling Jack

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 01:47 PM

Ran A/C for about 8 minutes on LO with outside temp reading of 58 in light rain. Register vent got down to 41. Of course cheap vent thermometer could easily be off a degree or so.

 

Lucile,

 

Good, thanks.

 

Now I'll race you to see who gets a really hot sunny test day first.  My money is on Houston!

 

We usually get well into the 90s with strong sun by the first week of May.

 

Jack



#16 OFFLINE   lucille

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Posted 19 April 2014 - 12:37 PM

Another test today:

 

Outside temp 64 high humidity. Ran A/C for 20 minutes on LO with high fan and only center driver's vent open. Only got down to 48. Opened hood and radiator fan was running. Also the radiator airflow slats were open so everything there seems to be functioning normally.

 

I'm a little concerned at this point but will wait to run test when outside temp is about 80. If the reading is not in the lower 40's at that point then I'll have the dealer take a look at it.



#17 OFFLINE   Smiling Jack

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Posted 19 April 2014 - 03:31 PM

Another test today:

 

Outside temp 64 high humidity. Ran A/C for 20 minutes on LO with high fan and only center driver's vent open. Only got down to 48. Opened hood and radiator fan was running. Also the radiator airflow slats were open so everything there seems to be functioning normally.

 

I'm a little concerned at this point but will wait to run test when outside temp is about 80. If the reading is not in the lower 40's at that point then I'll have the dealer take a look at it.

 

 

Lucille,

 

I agree with your assessment.

 

In Houston today with outside temperature = 79 degrees my outlet temperature was 36 degrees.

 

In your shoes at this point I would have the same plan as you have.

 

Jack



#18 OFFLINE   ArizonaEnergi

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Posted 19 April 2014 - 03:51 PM

Another test today:

 

Outside temp 64 high humidity. Ran A/C for 20 minutes on LO with high fan and only center driver's vent open. Only got down to 48. Opened hood and radiator fan was running. Also the radiator airflow slats were open so everything there seems to be functioning normally.

 

I'm a little concerned at this point but will wait to run test when outside temp is about 80. If the reading is not in the lower 40's at that point then I'll have the dealer take a look at it.

Was your AC on recirculate?



#19 OFFLINE   lucille

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Posted 19 April 2014 - 04:56 PM

Was your AC on recirculate?

 

No, but just retested:

 

Outside temp:  63

Vents:  Only driver center vent open

A/C: MAX selected which sets LO temp, high fan speed and recirculate

Run time: 20 minutes

Lowest temp reading: 48



#20 OFFLINE   larryh

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Posted 20 April 2014 - 03:10 AM

I suggest that you monitor the amount of power being consumed by climate using the car's display.  It the A/C is not consuming 5 kW of power, it is not running at maximum capacity.  When I have set it at max AC when it was in the 60's, the power consumed by AC was less than 2 kW.  When it is hot, I have seen it consuming 5+ kW of power. 


Edited by larryh, 20 April 2014 - 03:11 AM.









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