ZF Unveils Heated Seatbelts, Claims Novel Technology Will Help Improve Range In EV Offerings.

It wasn’t long ago that heated seats were once considered novelties, with the technology first making its debut in the 1960s on a Cadillac model. Since then, the art of the tush warmer has been perfected, and the gift of heat has been extended to the steering wheel and even the armrest. However, ZF Automotive is prepared to take things in an exciting direction, heated seat belts.


Seatbelts Embrace The Heat While Still Focusing On Safety

At first glance, these heated seatbelts look like typical belts down to the tried and true fabric construction. However, these units have small wires interwoven into the belt fabric and are meant to replicate threads. These wires, along with heating elements, would heat the seats, creating warmth for occupants when wearing them. ZF claims that these belts use less electrical energy than a traditional heater and that this reduction would also increase the amount of range available to consumers by 15 percent, especially in colder weather.

As a bonus, this setup would allow the belt to retain its safety capabilities. That means avoiding any impediment to the operation of the belt itself while also avoiding any issues with the retractor, which would, in theory, allow for a seamless installation. That said, we are left with more questions than answers. A prominent one is whether there is any way to control the temperature of the belts to avoid burns and whether the NHTSA would be keen on approving this system on production belts, especially with the agency still keeping advanced camera mirrors off of production cars here in the U.S.

That’s despite ZF reps claiming they still operate like their mainstream counterparts, especially in keeping occupants safe. There’s also no word about when these belts will debut on a production car. Still, the company has revealed that several unnamed automakers have already reached out to them about the technology, which is an excellent small step forward for this novel idea.