Generally in all-electric cars climate control system is similar to that of a vehicle with an internal combustion engine except that ICE uses a mechanical compressor driven by the engine through a clutch.

The LEAF, like a few hybrid vehicles, uses an electric motor as a compressor. As in other vapor-compression cycle air conditioning systems, the compressor increases the density, and hence the temperature, of refrigerant gas.

It is then sent through a condenser which extracts and radiates the heat, converting the gas to a liquid state. From there it goes through an expansion valve, which results in it cooling as it returns to a gaseous state before entering the evaporator where it collects heat from air being blown past it.

  • In Sri Lanka, both EV and ICE undergo premature AC repairs.
  • This will be an expensive repair, in some cases. If the evaporator coil found to be the culprit the cost will be higher!
  • Evaporator coil to last long, as much as the life of the compressor, but it’s not happening, costs are big!
  • In the case of Nissan Leaf, the job is even more extensive as its needing the removal of the entire instrument cluster/dashboard.
  • Seems we missed few important points to follow in the tropics.

The manufacturer wouldn’t have mandated the removal of the instrument cluster to replace the Evaporator coil if they ever expected such a replacement.

As almost everyone in the automobile industry is saying, the future is electric. Like IC engine-powered cars, electric cars are climate controlled, but instead of using an engine to power the compressor, they use electricity.

Evaporator Failures

We do many bad things that are detrimental to the evaporator. Here are some key points you may follow in using the AC system in a high humid country, or in the tropics.

  • ​Don’t use poor and fake ​cabin filters. Change the filters as​ and when​ required.
  • Another blunder, improper fitting of the cabin filter. It’s a tricky mechanism and may tend to bend the filter if not done professionally. So the air may bypass the filter clogging the evaporator.
  • Ensure the correct side insertion. Some filters are unmarked.
  • ​Do not use additional floor mats​. Especially the rubber mats are not suitable for the cars as these got no static effect to hold the dust. Even 3M type mats are not appropriate in this context.
  • ​Not to use fabric seat covers which is again bad.
  • ​Use the Air Conditioner all the time in recirculating mode.
  • A precautionary measure, run the blower fast for 5 minutes before you shut the EV/ car in the evening.
  • Ensure that your system runs on the correct refrigerant pressure, this to be checked during the scheduled maintenance.
  • It is advisable to check the compressor status/RPM too during the scheduled maintenance.
Un serviced EV, ruined the Evaporator

Knowing a Filter Failure

First, the airflow becomes poor. And next, in hot weather air conditioning works worse.

Third, in wet weather windows fog up too much. This is another sign of a clogged Nissan X-Trail cabin filter.

Fourth, there can be an unpleasant smell in the cabin   dust or mold when turning on the air conditioner.

All of these signs may indicate a clogged Cabin Filter. If at least one of them appears, check the cabin filter and clean/replace it with a new one as necessary. BUT, don’t forget the fitting.

Cabin filters are available for varying quality and prices from LKR 1,500 to LKR 3,400. The topmost is a Carbon activated filter which cuts the road odour too. But you can buy good quality filters for less than LKR 2,000 without Carbon activation which is no use of preventing evaporator. Don’t fall for unbranded and fakes, ensure your seller is reliable.

Improper fitting – ruined the evaporator.
Inferior / poor filters

Premature replacements of evaporator coil (cooler) or other components are not a problem of the car it is purely a problem of the usage and somewhat on the operating conditions as well​.

However, a proper diagnosis procedure is required to ascertain the cause of the failure as removal of the instrument cluster should be the last resort.

New / Replacement Evaporator Coil

Remember, the Evaporator coil is destined to last long as the life of the compressor, let’s make it happen to avoid heavy replacement costs! Also, the modifications to the tubing are not acceptable during a replacement. Ensure that you get at least a one year warranty too.

Evaporator coil replacement to be done with various other component checks and services as we cannot leave any room for re removal. Atop usual leak checks, o ring replacements etc, comprehensive servicing of the blower compartment and the ducts are mandatory during an evaporator replacement. The entire process with the qualified technical team of GoEV will cost you LKR 35,000.

Read on preventive service here: Does-ev-need-service?