Australia is in the heat of summer and we’re all too familiar with the experience of climbing into a hot car. Whether its baking in the sun at work, or during a marathon shopping session, a hot car is not fun for anyone. It’s uncomfortable and it’s usually 15 minutes down the road before your air conditioner kicks in and brings the temperature down.
One solution is of course to leave your windows down a centimeter or two, but there’s always a chance it’ll rain and it introduces a security gap to your vehicle. There’s now another option called Kulcar, a device that aims to be the solution to your summer car problems. Powered by a solar power, the gadget slips between your window and the door frame. Dual fans spin to push the hot air from your car through a small vent that runs horizontally across the wide of the unit.
Installing the Kulcar is reasonably easy, but does take some time to get right. Every car is different, but most will install this in the rear window as it often has the least curvature. The window arc is important as the device is hard, straight plastic and clips on to the window easily, but then the gap either side is filled with two plastic strips. These are hard plastic and need to be cut precisely, really precisely to avoid air gaps. While these two plastic strips are supplied, you get one shot at these cuts. If you don’t get this right, you’ll be creating an air gap and when driving at speed, it’ll sound like you’re driving with the window down. That’s annoying at 60km/h and unbearable at 110km/h. The installation took around 30 minutes, but if I had to do it a second time, could easily knock it over in half that time.
Assuming you only buy one Kulcar devices, you’ll need to consider the side you install it on and the orientation of your car when you park it. The solar panel requires a fair bit of sun to power the fans, if that side of the car is in the shadows, you’ll get no power to the fans and not work. The solar panel angle is adjustable but I found the most effective position was fully open. This ends up being about 130-140 degrees which points it firmly at the sun for a majority of the day. You will need to wind up the solar panel before driving off, to do this you’ll need to use the annoying sliding pin system. Slide it up, turn, slide up, turn. I’m not an engineer, but there has to be a quick release option that would make this daily chore more efficient.
The theory is that while you’re away from your car that Kulcar will cool your car by a measurable amount, leaving it far more comfortable to re-enter. After spending time with Kulcar installed and comparing it to the same temperature days before it was installed, there was no tangible different in car temperature. I’d love to say this worked, that it’s the solution to your vehicle woes during summer, but it’s just not. That seatbelt buckle or handbrake lever are getting just as hot regardless.
10 years ago I bought my first car, it was December and hot and the factory windows allowed the sun to beam in. Shortly after I got the windows tinted (darkest legal tint) and while you can’t get the windscreen tinted, the difference was noticeable. So that’s my recommendation, if you want to reduce the temperature of your baking vehicle, either find some shade to park in or put the money towards window tinting. There’s no doubt when in the folded up position, this is no fashion accessory, for this to work, to be on your car full-time, they should really consider a new, more streamlined design.
Kulcar is new in the Australian market and say the temp inside a sealed car can quickly exceed 70 degrees and a steering wheel can reach closer to 80. Once the temp reaches 65 degrees, harmful fumes are released, of a Kulcar is installed in a parked car for longer than 1 hour in temps of 35 degrees or above, it is guaranteed that the car will experience a decrease of 10 degrees. There’s no details on what exactly that guarentee gives you, but this wasn’t my experience. The days I tested the Kulcar on, Albury Wodonga reached temperatures around 35 degrees celsius.
Kulcar is available online at www.kulcar.com.au and will set you back A$129.00.