Are heated seat belts the key to increasing electric vehicle range?
Heated seats and heated steering wheels are common features in new cars, but supplier ZF is now offering heated seat belts, claiming they could help increase the range of electric vehicles.
In cold weather, heated seat belts could increase range by up to 15% by reducing the amount of energy needed to heat a car’s cabin, ZF said in a press release, though the company found that seat belt heaters are most effective when they are be used with other contact heaters, such. B. Seat heaters.
ZF heated seat belt
By applying heat directly to a person’s body, both heated seats and heated seat belts are a more efficient way of achieving a comfortable temperature than blowing air through a vehicle cabin, as they draw less energy from the battery pack and more for propulsion leave. Because of this, automakers like Volkswagen have emphasized the installation of heated seats to maximize EV performance in cold weather.
The heated seat belt from ZF is made of webbing in a similar way to conventional seat belts, but with integrated heat-conducting elements. This slightly increases the thickness of the webbing without sacrificing ease of manufacture or occupant comfort, ZF claims. No changes to the buckles or retractors are required, so the heated seat belts work just like traditional belts, the company added.
ZF heated seat belt
In addition to reducing air conditioning energy consumption, heated seat belts could have a safety benefit. The added warmth reduces the need to carry a jacket or other bulky clothing in the car, allowing the seat belt to sit closer to the body, the company noted.
ZF hasn’t announced a customer for its heated seat belts, but its cold-weather EV lineup is a key consideration for automakers. All electric cars experience some range loss in cold temperatures (although the exact amount varies widely by model), which may discourage consumers from switching from petrol to electric cars.