ZF Unveils Heated Seat Belts, They Look Just Like Regular Ones

ZF Heat Belt 9 photos
Photo: ZF
ZF Heat BeltZF Heat BeltZF Heat BeltZF Heat BeltPerson wearing seat beltBuckled seat belt in the center of the back seat of a VolvoChild wearing seat belt on booster seatSeat belt and seat belt buckle
Automotive supplier ZF has unveiled its latest tech, called Heat Belt, and it is exactly what you think it is. Since we cannot read your mind, dear reader, we can explain that the technology refers to a heated seat belt. The idea is to bring heat close to the body so that the vehicle does not require a massive amount of energy to be heated up while driving.
Think of it as a system that can be used in an EV or even in a conventional vehicle that will provide warmth right to your body, about as fast as heated seats warm up, and it would come without consuming too much energy. In a conventional vehicle, where more than half of the potential energy of the fuel is transformed into heat anyway, it still takes a bit of time to get heat inside during a chilly winter day.

This new ZF system can heat up your body, simultaneously with the heated seats, at reduced energy consumption. In theory, it may be enough just to turn on the heated belts and possibly the heated seats or maybe the heated steering wheel to allow the driver and passengers to feel sufficient comfort while on the move.

The deployment of such a system has the potential to eliminate the need to waste battery energy to pre-condition a vehicle for driving, as well as not having to heat up the entire interior of a vehicle to a toasty temperature if it only has the driver onboard.

To be fair, several modern EVs and even some hybrids offer the possibility of adjusting the air temperature for just the driver's seat or just the front passengers. While that is a great idea in itself, and it should continue being offered, these new seat belts come with several benefits for EVs.

For example, ZF notes that for an EV, using these seat belts instead of the conventional climate control systems will bring a range gain of up to 15 percent. This will only work in the cold season, which can mean anywhere from late fall to early spring, if not beyond, so more than half the year, if you really think about the climate in some countries.

The best part is that implementing it does not require dramatic changes to HVAC systems, as well as other modifications that would involve less comfort for the driver or passengers. The best part is that it behaves like a conventional seat belt, its operation is also identical, and it is mandatory to wear a seat belt while driving or being a passenger in a vehicle in most countries of the world.

There is another benefit here, and it is one of safety, as the driver and passengers will not wear bulky clothing while in the vehicle. The latter is almost the norm during winter, but the seat belt's operation is hindered by some bulky clothes because the belt cannot get as close to the human body as it could to enable proper restraint at the moment of impact – which is the most important moment in an accident, as well as the moments right after the event.

Another potential bonus is making more people wear the seat belt in a vehicle, which is something that should be second nature to any driver or passenger in this world, but real life has shown us that things do not work that way, sadly. Regardless of whether your vehicle has heated seat belts or not, please buckle up every time, no excuses.
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Editor's note: For illustration purposes, the photo gallery also shows other images referring to seat belt use.

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About the author: Sebastian Toma
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Sebastian's love for cars began at a young age. Little did he know that a career would emerge from this passion (and that it would not, sadly, involve being a professional racecar driver). In over fourteen years, he got behind the wheel of several hundred vehicles and in the offices of the most important car publications in his homeland.
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