Technology NewsThe range of electric cars can be increased with...

The range of electric cars can be increased with a seat belt

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It’s a great idea that also educates motorists on driving awareness.

The for electric cars can decrease in cold weather range – this is also true for vehicles with internal combustion engines, but the reduction is more spectacular in the case of electric drives, especially if the battery is used in inappropriate conditions. In winter, there are some tricks that can be used to effectively reduce this decrease, for example: heated seats instead of heating the air.

Opinions differ on the exact amount of this, but according to one member of an electric car forum, traditional car heating can consume up to 2-5 kilowatts, while the use of seat heating requires a maximum of around 50-100 watts of energy. This is understandable, since in the latter case a much smaller area has to be heated, moreover, the heat is absorbed directly by the body of the driver or passenger, so the degree of heating is more efficient.

Heated seat belts have a beneficial effect on the winter range of electric cars (Photo: rheacountytn.gov)
Heated seat belts have a beneficial effect on the winter range of electric cars (Photo: rheacountytn.gov)

This is also helped by the latest development of the German ZF – it says InsideEVs. The EasyTurn suspension for easier maneuvering of cars company that developed it came up with a simple idea: the heated seat belt. During production, heating fibers were woven into the belt, which is indistinguishable from a traditional version. According to ZF experts, this modification does not affect the operation of the seat belts, i.e. it is just as safe to use the heated version as the smooth one. However, the heated belt has the huge advantage that an electric car has up to 15 percent more range if the driver uses it instead of the heater. The heating is even more effective when used together with seat heating.

Heated belts come into action as soon as the car is started, and they are also extremely efficient, as they transfer the heat from close proximity by sticking to the driver’s or passenger’s body. In its statement, the company states directly: “the more the passengers allow the heat to reach their bodies, the better it works, in fact, it not only improves the feeling of comfort, it also does not reduce the safety of traffic”.

Thermal imaging shows the effectiveness of the heated seat belt, although the passenger in the puffer jacket is using it incorrectly (Photo: ZF)
Thermal imaging shows the effectiveness of the heated seat belt, although the passenger in the puffer jacket is using it incorrectly (Photo: ZF)

Martina Rausch, ZF’s employee responsible for the development of heated seat belts, also drew attention to the fact that heated belts can be used optimally if passengers take off their winter coats before getting into the car. This is consistent with the driving technology experts also with his recommendation, since the seat belt does its job well when it fits almost completely on the body. If you pull the belt over a thick jacket, there will be some room for movement, which can be extremely dangerous during an accident, because the forces will start to move your body out of the fixed position, so the seat belt will need more time to tighten.

Heated seat belts have been tried by other car manufacturers in the past, for example, Ford patented a similar technology in 2018, but it has not appeared in any models since then.

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