At first glance, it sounds quite frivolous: a heated seatbelt. Why would auto supplier ZF be working on a technique to weave heating conductors into the belt structure? Did anyone ask for this?!
Delve into the details however, and there is a very concrete reason for the innovation: to save energy in electric cars.
Internal combustion engines produce an excess of wasted heat, some of which is used to heat the vehicle’s cabin. EVs don’t create waste heat, so in colder climates EVs can lose up to 20% of their efficiency and range because they need to use the battery for interior heating. In fact, cabin heat is the 2nd largest user of energy in an EV after propulsion. A heated seatbelt can minimize the loss of efficiency by shifting to direct-contact heating versus power being used for climate systems. And not only is it more efficient, it also isn’t terribly expensive because a heated seatbelt uses similar component sets to the increasingly popular heated steering wheel.
Click over to https://www.greencarreports.com/news/1138384_ev-range-boosting-heated-seatbelt-is-a-mass-market-first to learn more and see some pix.