The idea is to mimic the feel of internal combustion.
Vibrating seats were a helpful way of keeping people awake and alert ten years ago, but most manufacturers have moved on to a new method of informing the driver of a hazard. It's usually a vibrating steering wheel or a warning light on the instrument cluster.
But CarBuzz has discovered that Hyundai is looking at bringing the vibrating seat back for two reasons. A recent patent filed with the European Patent Office (EPO) shows that it could be beneficial for informing drivers about hazards. And it can also be used to mimic an ICE performance car. We'll tackle the latter claim first.
According to Hyundai's patent filing, EVs are generally delicate and smooth compared to their ICE counterparts. Internal combustion cars have several components that cause an inherent vibration that the driver feels via the seat.
While Hyundai considers the smoothness of an EV as a positive attribute, it openly states that "the absence of the internal combustion engine, the transmission, and the clutch may result in a feeling of boredom for certain drivers."
"Various effects generated by noise, a physical vibration, and thermodynamic operations of the internal combustion engine are sometimes considered important to drivers in the field of high-performance vehicles," states the patent.
No wonder the Veloster N is such a great car. Hyundai knows what performance car drivers crave, and it's at least looking at ways of engineering little slivers of it back into the car.
Hyundai also acknowledges that EVs will be built with technology capable of mimicking the vibrations felt during acceleration, deceleration, shifting, etc. Ford already offers a soundtrack in the Mach-E, but Hyundai wants to replicate the actual vibrations associated with an ICE performance car.
At the same time, it wants to bring back the vibrating seat function that warns against multiple hazards by using what appears to be between four to eight vibrators housed within the seat. According to Hyundai, this method is preferable to a warning in the instrument cluster because the driver is immediately aware of it.
It can also vibrate in whatever direction the danger is, and an onboard computer will determine how severe the vibration should be depending on the threat's significance.