Automotive supplier ZF has developed the first heated seat belt. It provides even heat and as a bonus, saves energy, especially for electric cars! The manufacturer promises up to 15% less consumption.
What is the first thing most motorists do in winter? They turn it on heater or, better, they switch on the heating of their seat. You have to go back to 1966 to see the first car appear on the market with a heating system for the buttocks and the back. It was the Cadillac DeVillea luxury American sedan.
Now the Heated seats are now common, and even in less expensive small cars. Some high-end models even offer heated steering wheels or armrests.
When it’s very cold, our first instinct is to turn on the heated seats. Because the heat close to the body is much more pleasant than that of the central heating, which comes out of the air vents. But the equipment manufacturer ZF goes even further in innovation. Here is the first heated seat belt!
Operation is simple. Four ultra-thin 0.4mm diameter metal heating wires are woven into the webbing of the belt. In just two minutes, the belt heats up to 40 degrees if it’s -5 in the car! As a bonus, it provides pleasant and even heat thanks to its 1.43 m long and 33 mm wide heating field.
As a bonus, this changes absolutely nothing in the handling for the user or in the assembly of the belt by car manufacturers. On the other hand, the energy consumption of the vehicle is improved, which makes this development particularly interesting for electric cars.
First up is the new ZF “Heat Belt.”
Designed to cut EV battery use in heating up a vehicle cabin in winter. This is a heated seat belt and steering wheel solution that keeps drivers warn while extending battery use by up to 15% in winter. pic.twitter.com/KONnJdOx9t
— Jack Roberts (@By_JackRoberts) January 4, 2023
« Five to six kilowatt hours are consumed by the air conditioning of a cooled car until a comfortable temperature for the occupants is reached“, explains Björn Kräft, responsible for the development of seat belts at ZF at the Alfdorf site in Baden-Württemberg.
While vehicles with combustion engines also use waste heat from the engine for this, the heating energy for electric cars comes entirely from the battery. Heating the cabin is therefore at the expense of autonomy, so precious in such a vehicle.
Contact heating systems such as heated steering wheels (power consumption approx. 50 watts), them Heated seats (in about 100 watts) and the belt heating safety (70 watts) are significantly more energy efficient during this warm-up phase. ” Intelligently networked contact heaters significantly reduce electricity consumption without loss of comfort. For electric cars, this increases range by up to 15%« .
The added side effect is a safety gain. The belt as a restraint system only really works perfectly if it fits snugly to the body. A belt as a heat source could encourage motorists to take the wheel despite the cold, without a thick winter jacket. Thus, if necessary, the belt can fulfill its safety functions without being hindered by textiles.
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At ZF, the development of heating jackets for series production has been completed. ” We are in talks with a few interested manufacturers. But we also know their project development times and are therefore counting on a market introduction in 2025 at the earliest.“says the head of product development.
Source : AutoImage
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