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Opel Ampera-E 2017 (European branded Chevy Bolt EV)
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All, having driven 800km in my Bolt without heating in wintry Germany a few weeks ago, and seen the information about installing diesel heaters in Bolts in Canada (carried out professionally by Simon André), I am looking at installing an ethanol hydronic heater from Espar (Eberspächer in Europe) in my Bolt.
I'd like to go for ethanol because our other car is an ICE which drives on E85, so I have a canister full of E85 most of the time, and it also smells less than diesel, and the ethanol itself is derived from non-fossil sources in Europe (sawdust and waste agricultural produce) so kind of maintains the Bolt's green(ish) credentials.

The Espar unit (Hydronic II E4S) will burn ethanol from E100 down to E85, so that is perfect. It also has its own coolant pump, so there is no need to tap in to the existing one's wiring.

What I don't understand is how the Espar system integrates with the car's electronics. Presumably, it needs to control the fan in order to move the heat from the coolant to the cabin air. Also, can it be integrated into the existing temperature control system? Simon André's video on YouTube (
) seems to imply that it can, but I have zero information about the Bolt's heater/AC system controls...

Has anyone done this, or know how to approach it?

Thanks very much, wishing you quick charging and a long range from the Alps,
 

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2022 Bolt EUV Premier w/ Sun n Sound
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Hi All, having driven 800km in my Bolt without heating in wintry Germany a few weeks ago, and seen the information about installing diesel heaters in Bolts in Canada (carried out professionally by Simon André), I am looking at installing an ethanol hydronic heater from Espar (Eberspächer in Europe) in my Bolt.
I'd like to go for ethanol because our other car is an ICE which drives on E85, so I have a canister full of E85 most of the time, and it also smells less than diesel, and the ethanol itself is derived from non-fossil sources in Europe (sawdust and waste agricultural produce) so kind of maintains the Bolt's green(ish) credentials.

The Espar unit (Hydronic II E4S) will burn ethanol from E100 down to E85, so that is perfect. It also has its own coolant pump, so there is no need to tap in to the existing one's wiring.

What I don't understand is how the Espar system integrates with the car's electronics. Presumably, it needs to control the fan in order to move the heat from the coolant to the cabin air. Also, can it be integrated into the existing temperature control system? Simon André's video on YouTube (
) seems to imply that it can, but I have zero information about the Bolt's heater/AC system controls...

Has anyone done this, or know how to approach it?

Thanks very much, wishing you quick charging and a long range from the Alps,
I have lots of experience with both Espar and Webasto heaters but not in conjunction with a Bolt. What I can tell you is that the add on units generally do not integrate with the vehicles temperature control system. They do come with harnesses that allow connection to the vehicle so that the Espar controller will activate the heater and the vehicles heater fan which is handy for preheating based on a timer and if you need extra heat while driving then you manually activate the Espar controller. If you park somewhere then it can also be activated to keep the car warm while you are away. However in the above cases the unit is controlled by an Espar controller and not the vehicle HVAC system. Some factory units, Like the Espar I had on a Chevrolet Savana are integrated into the electronics to provide quicker warmup for diesel engines and for supplementary heat (required in my part of the world) but I don't think any of that part can be accomplished after market. They do an excellent job and in the case of ICE vehicles they save a ton of idling.
I wouldn't hesitate to contact either Espar or Webasto for more information as I've found them extremely helpful in the past. Webasto is basically the North American version of the Espar and they can be found on just about every highway tractor that operates in Canada and a good majority of units in the US so they know their stuff.
 

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Opel Ampera-E 2017 (European branded Chevy Bolt EV)
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks BobBolt, the German Eberspächer reseller I spoke to says they suffered a massive hack and you currently can't get any information out of them. He advised me to wait until the new year to ask their tech department. It's more likely that Espar (in the USA) would have info - there are only a couple of thousand Bolts in Europe because GM sold Opel to Stellantis mid-production and for some reason GM don't import them here under the Chevy brand - perhaps part of the "divorce" agreement?

I guess that if I get an accurate circuit diagram, I could use the output of the HVAC to the electric heater to energise the ethanol heater. In that case the fan and pump would be on automatically, just the source of the heat would be different. I'll see if I can track down the relevant diagrams.

Webasto do not sell an ethanol version as far as I could see...
 

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Yes, but... what about the two children in the back?
Ha exactly. I know enough french to get the jist of the video. I am also considering one of these for my wife to be much more comfortable on her 2 hr commute and for when we travel to keep range up. I'm 6 hours from the QC installer but I like doing this stuff my self. They have a button to press and activate the heater, then you turn off heat on the Bolt infotainment and set the temp dial and fan speed and it is linked using the Espar harness. It's integrated to use the dial but you have to turn off the bolt heater to not use the battery. I really like the ethanol option. I have an Ethanol fireplace in our house and have 5 Gal pails of waste ethanol from the local distillery E95 we burn in it so it's free heat! Wonder if I can import the Ethanol model. it would just be the burner portion that would be different.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ha exactly. I know enough french to get the jist of the video. I am also considering one of these for my wife to be much more comfortable on her 2 hr commute and for when we travel to keep range up. I'm 6 hours from the QC installer but I like doing this stuff my self. They have a button to press and activate the heater, then you turn off heat on the Bolt infotainment and set the temp dial and fan speed and it is linked using the Espar harness. It's integrated to use the dial but you have to turn off the bolt heater to not use the battery. I really like the ethanol option. I have an Ethanol fireplace in our house and have 5 Gal pails of waste ethanol from the local distillery E95 we burn in it so it's free heat! Wonder if I can import the Ethanol model. it would just be the burner portion that would be different.
Is it actually a burner (jet), or are they catalytic? I'm looking at the circuit descriptions now, the biggest issue is how much is controlled via buses (appropriately and efficiently, but nearly impossible to hack)...

It's also possible that Espar (USA) sell Bolt-specific mounting kits, which we don't have in Europe. Those should also come with full fitting instructions, including electrical connection.
 

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Is it actually a burner (jet), or are they catalytic? I'm looking at the circuit descriptions now, the biggest issue is how much is controlled via buses (appropriately and efficiently, but nearly impossible to hack)...

It's also possible that Espar (USA) sell Bolt-specific mounting kits, which we don't have in Europe. Those should also come with full fitting instructions, including electrical connection.
I tried to find that out. I don't think they do, it looks like the QC guys make the mounts etc themselves. I think the harness on the Espar is designed to work with the heater control knob signal?? but that was murky with my limited French LOL.
 

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If you got 2 kids then use the heater for you lightly (the one that came With the car) and give them the blanket, it's big enough.
🙄
This is one of the issues that people have in Cold country with BEVs. Did you not think about this or learn about it before you bought it ?
How far do you NEED to drive at one time ?
If this is the reason you need to have a gas feature then I think you need to buy a hybrid.


Wasn't this discussed before at length on here in the past?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
If you got 2 kids then use the heater for you lightly (the one that came With the car) and give them the blanket, it's big enough.
🙄
This is one of the issues that people have in Cold country with BEVs. Did you not think about this or learn about it before you bought it ?
How far do you NEED to drive at one time ?
If this is the reason you need to have a gas feature then I think you need to buy a hybrid.


Wasn't this discussed before at length on here in the past?
If only life were that predictable. But if I can increase the range like this, it still means the BEV remains the best option - economically and environmentally - no matter how far I need to drive. In terms of cold weather use, the Bolt beats my ICE vehicle hands down, the preheat option makes it a pleasure to hop and set off in at six in the morning.
 

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Is it actually a burner (jet), or are they catalytic? I'm looking at the circuit descriptions now, the biggest issue is how much is controlled via buses (appropriately and efficiently, but nearly impossible to hack)...

It's also possible that Espar (USA) sell Bolt-specific mounting kits, which we don't have in Europe. Those should also come with full fitting instructions, including electrical connection.
I am pretty confident they will have the harnesses as a lot of that material isn't specific to the Bolt anyway....but, it will still be a stand alone in terms of control. I've not seen one yet that is integrated into the car's temperature control system.
 

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If only life were that predictable. But if I can increase the range like this, it still means the BEV remains the best option - economically and environmentally - no matter how far I need to drive. In terms of cold weather use, the Bolt beats my ICE vehicle hands down, the preheat option makes it a pleasure to hop and set off in at six in the morning.
oh 100% yes. Hitting the pre-start for my wife at 7 am so the car is all warmed up while plugged it is so nice. If we have the Espar she can do the same when at work for the drive home
 

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I am pretty confident they will have the harnesses as a lot of that material isn't specific to the Bolt anyway....but, it will still be a stand alone in terms of control. I've not seen one yet that is integrated into the car's temperature control system.
I think the heater runs independant but the heat control knob blends the hot air and cold air to keep the cabin at the pre-set temp. so the heater keeps the coolant at the set temp for it, then the Bolt knob controls how much of the hot coolant cycles though the heater core. If that makes sense. your not controling the Espar but you are the temp in the cabin.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I think the heater runs independant but the heat control knob blends the hot air and cold air to keep the cabin at the pre-set temp. so the heater keeps the coolant at the set temp for it, then the Bolt knob controls how much of the hot coolant cycles though the heater core. If that makes sense. your not controling the Espar but you are the temp in the cabin.
That makes sense, but if I could just find the "heater power on" signal and use it to control the Espar, it would be fully integrated - as long as the inbuilt coolant pump pumps at a a rate that matches the heat output of the Espar. I think the Espar is less powerful than the built-in electric heater (3 stages, output 1.300 / 3.700 / 4.300W), so perhaps the electric heater will still be required to supply some heat.
 

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That makes sense, but if I could just find the "heater power on" signal and use it to control the Espar, it would be fully integrated - as long as the inbuilt coolant pump pumps at a a rate that matches the heat output of the Espar. I think the Espar is less powerful than the built-in electric heater (3 stages, output 1.300 / 3.700 / 4.300W), so perhaps the electric heater will still be required to supply some heat.
Let me know when you sort it out. I'm stoked to try it and if I can get the ethanol version it's free fuel for me. I have 15 gallons of it in my garage right now LOL.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Let me know when you sort it out. I'm stoked to try it and if I can get the ethanol version it's free fuel for me. I have 15 gallons of it in my garage right now LOL.
Will do.
 
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