BMW has a lot of cool comfort features in its luxury cars. I still remember the first time I felt a heated steering wheel. It was like seeing sunshine for the first time. BMW’s heated armrests blew my mind at first. Give me all the heated things. But what about seatbelts? ZF is working on heated seatbelt technology for EVs and it’s not just for creature comforts but efficiency as well.

The idea is to use a special seatbelt webbing, which is only slightly thicker than a normal seatbelt, that features built-in heating conductors. These heated seatbelts (or heatbelts… I’ll see myself out) can warm quickly, far quicker than it takes the hot air from the climate control to start working, which will warm the occupants quicker, thus reducing the need to run the car’s heat. That, in turn, creates better cold-weather efficiency, as running the heat is a massive battery drain.

I think ZF is onto something, too. Heated seatbelts to do something far better than forced hot air does: heat people. Running the heat in a car just pushes hot air into the cabin, which then has to fight with the existing cold air until all of the cabin air is warm, which takes awhile and is pretty inefficient. But heated seatbelts directly warm the passengers, so they feel warm far quicker than being warmed from the cabin air.

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Warming objects; seats, armrests, steering wheel, seatbelts, and thus the people; is going to make the cabin feel warmer, quicker. Those seatbelts could also radiate heat, similar to the way baseboard heating or a wood burning stoves do in homes, which is more effective at warming a space than forcing hot air into it. Which is why I think BMW should work with ZF to implement this technology.

BMW already has a great relationship with ZF—as do most automakers—so there’s no reason why BMW couldn’t license this technology and use it. Not only would it be cool, as customers would get a kick out of saying that have heated seatbelts, but it would be more comfortable and more efficient for EVs. I’m no automotive HVAC expert but I think it’s a great technology that should be implemented.