Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: South Central Oklahoma
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John, I am in complete agreement with your A/C definition feelings. I get bugged when perfectly good expressive terms are misused and then the "wrong" usage becomes the accepted usage. The talking heads took "DECIMATION" which means literally to be reduced by 1/10 (Romans started the term with their practice of killing every tenth male in a village as punishment for some transgression against the conquerors.) Now the talking heads have "sold" it to the TV audience as meaning TOTAL DESTRUCTION!
Sometimes in order to communiate with the general public you have to use terms "their way." Still the question regarding heating and cooling went unanswered. The automatic climate control may alternatively use either heating or cooling "mode" to try to achieve the setpoint temperature but that doesn't say where the heat came from. I suggested at one point that if the A/C compressor were utilized as a reversible heat pump that it could heat or cool more or less independently from the gas engine as a heat source. A heat pump could get heat from the engine or from the environment or whichever worked.
I suspect that in the Prius the "A/C" compressor is used only for cooling and the engine's waste heat is used for the main heat source. It is possible that there is some electric suplemental heat as another poster mentioned he had in his "classic" Prius.
In "other" cars the defrost mode engages the A/C irrespective of the selected temperature and of course works best at a high temp setting. This serves to dry the air by first cooling it below the dew point to condense out a lot of the moisture and then heating the air via the heater core, further reducing the relative humidity, prior to blowing it on the glass where this warm dry air is efficient at removing "fog".
I suspect this is the same for the Prius and await confirmation or denial from "hip" owners. If I am right then the truly relilgious technogeeks will use the defrosters as little as possible due to the energy consumption and gas mileage reducing effect. Driving with a window open could come back in vogue.... BUT does it disturb the aerodynamics such that mileage will be reduced?
A blah day in the country beats a whoopee day in town!