You’ve heard of heated seats and steering wheels, but how about heated seatbelts?
German automotive supplier ZF – probably best known for its ubiquitous transmissions – has developed just such a feature as a way to enhance energy efficiency.
According to ZF they provide close-to-body warmth immediately after the driver starts driving, typically between 36 and 40 degrees Celsius.
The main benefit over climate control is range, since heating seatbelt elements requires less energy than powering a climate control system.
ZF claims the system may increase range by up to 15 per cent in winter cold snaps, by reducing the energy required to heat the interior.
The belt uses a type of webbing with heating conductors designed to minimally increase the thickness of the webbing, so they feel ‘normal’.
“The contact elements for the electrical heating circuits are positioned in such a way that they do not interfere with belt operation or retraction,” ZF claims.
“Since all relevant characteristics of the seat belt remain the same, there are not any added procedures or qualifications for the OEM.
“The heated seat belt is in no way inferior to its conventional counterparts in terms of occupant protection.”