You’ve heard of heated seats and steering wheels, but what about heated seat belts?
German automotive supplier ZF – perhaps best known for its ubiquitous transmissions – has developed such a feature as a way to improve energy efficiency.
According to ZF they provide warmth close to the body immediately after the driver starts driving, usually between 36 and 40 degrees Celsius.
The main benefit over climate control is range, as the heating seat belt element requires less energy than powering the climate control system.
ZF claims the system can increase range by up to 15 percent in winter, by reducing the energy needed to heat the interior.
The belts use a type of webbing with heating conductors designed to increase the thickness of the webbing minimally, so that they feel ‘normal’.
“The contact element for the electric heating circuit is placed in such a way that it does not interfere with the operation of the belt or the retractor,” ZF claims.
“Since all seat belt related features remain the same, there are no additional procedures or qualifications for OEMs.
“Heated seat belts are in no way inferior to their conventional counterparts in terms of occupant protection.”