Heated and Cooled Cupholders Put to the Test

Cupholders
Long gone are days when the only heating and cooling inside a car came from the heater and air conditioning. Nowadays, seats, steering wheels, mirrors and even cupholders are all capable of warming or chilling. Though some may seem gimmicky, the heated and cooled cupholders in the 2011 Chrysler 300C caught our attention by being hot or cold to the touch almost immediately after we turned them on.
 
To see how well the 300’s cupholders do their job, we gathered a cold bottle of water and a freshly poured cup of coffee from a favorite breakfast vendor, and we brought along an infrared thermometer. Without any drink in place, the surface temperature inside the cooled and heated holders showed promise. The cool side registered 48 degrees Fahrenheit, while the hot cupholder measured 113.1 degrees. 

After an hour with the cooler on and water bottle in place, the bottle’s temperature near the base was much cooler than its top: 48.2 degrees, compared with the top’s 61.8 degrees. The water itself measured 66.3 degrees at the mouth of the bottle, less chilly than the 55.7 degrees at the start. This wasn’t a complete shocker because less than half of the bottle sits in the cupholder. I spent a weekend using the 300C’s cooled cupholders with bottled water and saw similar results where the water was definitely colder at the bottom than the top.
 
The small cup of coffee seemed a more appropriately sized beverage for the heated cupholder. Except for its lid, the cup fit completely inside. The temperature difference was much closer after an hour in the holder. The cup’s base was 107.4 degrees, and the top was 105.9 degrees. Pointing the thermometer directly at the coffee resulted in a liquid temperature of 98.7 degrees at the end, down from 126.5 degrees at the beginning. Of course we'd doubt anyone would leave a full cup of coffee in the holder for an hour.
Cupholders2

What may be more important than how hot or cool the cupholders get is the material of the container. We chose a paper coffee cup and plastic bottled water because they are extremely popular on-the-go items, not because of their insulation properties. A different container could make a difference in the effectiveness of the cooling and heating effects. We smell an opportunity for Chrysler's accessory business.

By Joe Bruzek | June 17, 2011 | Comments (10)

Comments 

Timoe Rosa

And the conclusion is....

I feel like I learned nothing from this article.

Matt C.

Did you swirl the containers like a martini before consuming? That would make a difference in temp as it hits your tongue.

Timoe,
You mean like:
It won't cool a water bottle too well yet a cup of coffee will stay relatively hot for an hour!

That's pretty impressive if you ask me.

kj

This sort of information is appropriate to file in the "duh" section. Whatever happened to the days when a car was meant to drive and not keep our food and beverages cold/hot, or entertain us with navigation and watching movies?

Scott

NEWS FLASH: HEAT RISES, COLD SINKS.

NEXT AT 11: WATER IS WET.

G7

Water is wet!? Obama is that you??

Jason

A better test would have included a control where the water and coffee would sit in the holder for an hour with the respective cooling and heating off. Then, measure the temperature to see if these types of cupholders can at least slow the rate of temperature change.

Alternatively, you could put room temperature beverages in the holders to see if they could heat or cool from a neutral point.

Dan

Sounds like the devices work (obviously) but that they may need to have more power. The temperature ranges the surfaces sit at are fine, but they need to be able to add and pull more heat.

This is the first time I have ever heard of heated and cooled cup holders.

Does anybody actually make use of them?


Great post
iBottleLess coolers are also perfect for the office, get rid of deliveries interrupting your work place. BottleLess water coolers can easily be placed in any office with a water source. http://www.ibottleless.com

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