It will get you more range too.
Soon, your Mustang Mach-E or other EV could have heated seatbelts, thanks to ZF. Best of all, this tech can make your car more efficient.
ZF is best known for its transmissions, but the company is responsible for a raft of impressive automotive technologies not limited to gearboxes. As the industry shows greater interest in electric cars and moves away from mechanical componentry, the auto parts supplier is figuring out how to remain at the forefront of automotive excellence, and the new ZF Heat Belt may help it to do just that.
The general idea is that a heated seatbelt will be more efficient than two large heating elements in a seat bottom and back. With less energy used to warm seat occupants, ZF says that driving range can be improved by up to 15%. However, that figure is based on the reduced use of climate control systems in all their forms.
The invention uses heating conductors woven into the webbing of the belt, with the conductors adding next to nothing in terms of thickness or weight. On top of that, the belts will remain comfortable and promise no reduction in safety or additional complexity in operation.
The belts will still get plenty warm despite their tiny heating elements. ZF quotes a heated range between 97-104 degrees Fahrenheit. The firm also tells us the belts should warm up quickly and will be satisfying to use. Per ZF, "the heated belt is designed to provide occupants with a uniform feeling of warmth close to the body."
Most EVs don't heat cabin air like a traditional car does - via waste heat from the gas engine. Instead, because so little waste heat is available for occupants, most use the battery to heat things up. So, as ZF puts it, why not use that battery power more efficiently?
For now, it seems that widespread integration is a ways off. ZF doesn't provide any sort of release timeline, nor does it announce any partners. The Heat Belt is clearly ready to be integrated; it just remains to be seen which company will be the first to try this new take on warming occupants.