Hot Seat Belts To Extend EV Range

Tue 14th Mar 2023

While range anxiety on electric vehicles is fast becoming a worry of a forgotten early era of EVs, manufacturers are still looking for ways for cars to preserve the charge on a car battery, and the latest, a heated seatbelt, promises to increase range by up to 15 per cent.

The purpose of the system, which has been developed by German tech company ZF is to lessen the reliance that electric vehicles have on functions that are known to place additional burden on a vehicle's battery, such as conventional heaters, heated seats, and steering wheels.

The idea behind heated seatbelts is that because the heat source is so close to the body, it is an easier and more effective method to warm up the people who are riding in the vehicle.

Finding innovative ways of heating the interior of an electric vehicle is a challenge for designers because, unlike traditional combustion engines, they are unable to make use of the heat that is produced during the combustion process. 

Instead, energy is drawn from the battery, and ZF claims that this new technology has the potential to increase the range of an electric vehicle by up to 15 percent.

“For the occupants, there is no difference in terms of operation when compared to a conventional belt,” explains Martina Rausch, who is responsible for new seat belt developments at ZF. “And, of course, the heated seat belt is in no way inferior to its conventional counterparts in terms of crash behavior,” Rausch emphasizes.

“When the passengers take off their thick winter jackets, the seat belt lies closer and directly against the body and the restraint remains at optimal function in the event of a crash,” explains Rausch.