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Ventilated car seats – what are they and how do they work? 

06 October 2022

The importance of air conditioning in a car can be experienced especially during the increasingly intense summer heat. The ideal complement to this comfortable feature are ventilated seats. What is the principle of their operation and is it worth investing in such a solution? 

What are ventilated seats in a car? 

Ventilated car seats are a special type of seats that are equipped with an additional system of forced air circulation. Properly directed air supply provides an immediate cooling effect on the body of the driver or passenger. Ventilated car seats most often accompany the car's air conditioning system as a supplement, but they can also be equipped with a separate cooling system. Air-conditioned seats are an additional luxury equipment option, for which you generally have to pay extra, so it's worth considering in which cases they will work. First, however, let us explain how ventilated seats work. 

How does the seat ventilation work? 

The principle of ventilated seats is very simple. Such seats are equipped with perforated plastic upholstery. Built-in fans driven by an electric motor pump air streams directly through holes located in the backrest and the seat itself. In most cases, the fans draw air coming from the cabin of the car, and more specifically from under the seat, where the temperature is usually the lowest. Therefore, unless the car has an air-conditioning system, seat ventilation only provides air movement, giving the impression of a lower temperature. Sometimes, however, the seat can be equipped with its own cooling system, heating or even a massage feature. Its operation, depending on the model and date of manufacture of the car, can be controlled by buttons built into the seat or, more and more often, by the infotainment system. Most air-conditioned seats have several programs and intensity levels, allowing you to tailor the system's operation to your own needs. 

How to check if the seats are ventilated? 

The first indication that a seat is equipped with a ventilation system is the perforated upholstery, usually made of eco-leather. However, it is worth remembering that not every seat with such upholstery has this feature. It's an additional option available only in some cars. Air-conditioned seats require a built-in system of fans that force air movement. They are additionally equipped with an electronic control system, which also requires a more complex construction of the seat. The sensors and wires need specialized hard-foam fillings to ensure their effective protection against shocks and extreme temperatures. The best material for such modern seats today is foamed polypropylene. Pneumatically molded car parts made of lightweight EPP plastic combine exceptional strength against damage with thermal insulation and resilience. The EPP seat base made this way is then covered with soft foam responsible for the tactile sensation, and finally with the upholstery. 

What kind of cars have ventilated seats? 

Ventilated seats are available only in high-end luxury models, and usually as part of the top-tier, most expensive equipment package. This is a far less popular solution than, for example, additional heating features for the seat, steering wheel or mirrors, which have long been available in many cars. Air-conditioned seats can be found in cars of many prestigious brands, such as Mercedes, Audi, BMW and some Toyota models. Usually only the front seats are equipped with the ventilation function, although some car manufacturers also offer the possibility of air conditioning the rear seat. The use of EPP in modern car seat designs allows for customized design solutions due to the high processing flexibility of the material and the ease of shaping it into any desired form. 

Ventilated seats – is it worth investm the ent? 

Given the ever-increasing average air temperatures, more and more people will be looking for cars with ventilated seats. Already today, air conditioning is the current standard not only in countries with hot climates, but also in much cooler Northern or Central and Eastern Europe. A ventilated car seat is an ideal support for the air conditioning system, as a blast of cool air is directed at the driver's body, effectively nullifying the effect of intense sunlight through the windshield. This guarantees greater comfort and prevents perspiration of the body in areas directly adjacent to the upholstery material. This will be especially appreciated by those who spend a lot of time behind the wheel. Ventilation of car seats is important especially in vehicles with eco-leather upholstery, as the plastic can get very hot, even causing body burns. Since drivers today expect more from a car than just a simple transportation function, air-conditioned seats may soon become a widely available standard.  

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