Tesla’s Idea for Heated and Cooled Seats Could Revolutionize In-Car Comfort

This Tesla patent could revolutionize the car seat, or create a huge, expensive mess.

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Tesla engineers are not just streamlining Model 3 production and modding a Model S to beat Porsche at the Nürburgring. They are also cooking up new ways to increase efficiency in their cars. One interesting idea from Tesla, found by Car and Driver, is a new patent for using liquid to heat and cool car seats.

The patent idea would use an intermediate layer of liquid within the car seat. A single system would either heat or cool the liquid and circulate it with a pump to ensure even distribution. This would heat or cool the seat more effectively and, significantly for Tesla, it would be more power efficient.

Car seats currently employ separate systems for heating and cooling. A heating system runs an electric current through resistors to warm the seat. A ventilation system operates a fan to draw away air and cool the seat. Operating either system drains significant energy from the battery, which reduces a Tesla vehicle’s range. Replacing those methods with one simpler system should yield energy savings.

While this idea is intriguing, implementation will hinge on how leakproof Tesla can make the seats. A malfunction of a liquid seat could be costly (not to mention messy) for buyers. While Tesla has been building the future over the past decade, the brand’s build quality has struggled to keep up.

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