ZF develops heated seatbelt technology for EVs

A heated seatbelt provides occupants with warmth in cold temperatures and may help e-vehicles increase range by up to 15% by reducing the energy required to heat the interior of the vehicle.

Autocar Pro News Desk By Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 15 Jan 2023 Views icon2660 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp

ZF has developed a heated seatbelt option for electric vehicles. This technology allows drivers to reduce the energy used to heat the vehicle — especially in combination with other contact heaters such as a seat heater. ZF claims that during cold weather, the system may increase range by up to 15% by reducing the energy required to heat the interior of the vehicle.

The ZF heated seatbelt is based on a special webbing with integrated heating conductors that minimally increase the thickness of the webbing. This makes integration easier for vehicle manufacturers and offers occupants the same comfort as normal seat belt webbing. The heated belt is designed to provide occupants with a uniform feeling of warmth close to the body.

With this integrated heating function, ZF says this "new heated seatbelt can provide close-to-body warmth immediately after the driver starts driving, typically between 36 and 40deg Celsius. In combination with heated seats, the heated seatbelt has the potential to provide occupant comfort quickly."

In electric vehicles, the climate control system is powered by battery current, as there is no usable waste heat as with the combustion engine. Reducing the amount of battery current used to heat the interior of the vehicle may enable a range gain of up to 15% using contact heaters and reducing the usage of conventional climate control systems.

Other advantages of ZF’s heated seatbelt are decisive for its broad acceptance among drivers and passengers: pit behaves like a conventional seatbelt, and its operation is also identical.

Heating conductors woved into seatbelt structure

ZF used a special textile processing method for this innovation. The heating conductors are woven into the seatbelt structure. The contact elements for the electrical heating circuits are positioned in such a way that they do not interfere with belt operation or retraction.

Special belt retractors at other installation positions are not necessary, says ZF. Since all relevant characteristics of the seatbelt remain the same, there are not any added procedures or qualifications for the OEM. The heated seatbelt is in no way inferior to its conventional counterparts in terms of occupant protection, states ZF.

Occupant experience and safety potential are generally enhanced by reducing bulky clothing. This allows the belt to lie much closer to the body while continuing to restrain and protect the occupant in a crash.

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