December 9, 2013
BURSCHEID, GERMANY — A 5 kilogram reduction in weight of each front car seat is “realistic” in the next five years said Andreas Eppinger, group vice president for technology management at Johnson Controls Inc.
In an interview with Automotive News Europe managing editor Douglas Bolduc, Eppinger said: “I see a weight reduction of 30-50 percent over the next few years. There are significant weight reductions coming. I would say the 5 kg. reduction is realistic.”
He added that the reduction in weight would mostly come from metal components.
“We use aluminum and high-strength steel as well as thinner materials. We also have improved certain component designs so that each and every component is lighter,” he said.
Seats will play a role in reducing weight and carbon dioxide emissions but the bulk of the savings will come from power train improvements.
Eppinger said JCI was investing in its own technology: “One side is linked to automaker programs and the other side is what we invest to create our own products and technologies. The R&D for automaker programs changes based on the number of projects we have in terms of R&D pre-invest in our own technology and products.
“There are key technologies in which we want to have as much detail as possible. We have been working with psychologists and with ergonomics specialists to really understand what people need — and why they need it — when it comes to seating mechanics, seating thermal comfort and so on.”
He said car seating was complicated, because “what feels comfortable in the first 10 seconds may not be good after two hours. Here we have developed a two-layer foam that feels soft on the top and is hard in the lower level so that it feels comfortable when you get in the car and still feels comfortable after two hours.”