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You've never heard of the hot-stone principle, the massage system in the seats of the S-Class Mercedes? Do you at least, know about the chaffeur-position of the front passeger seat and it's possibility to dissapper to the extent, that one can rest ones feet on it? Then, at least read this article about seat-heating, something that one could afford, if not as a built in fixture, then maybe in the shape of an add-on extra in kit-form.

If you've ever ordered a convertible car, with leather seating and no seat-heating, you'll know the look on the sales-person's face, he's battling to contol himself, powerless againt so much unreasonableness. It appears to be a touchy subect that has to be handled with discretion, although it's only all about a network of electric wires, which are as a rule, only offered for the front seats (VW-Passat). The buyers from up north, apparently place a great deal of value on this feature.

Shown above, in the center console of the Volvo, are the two operating dials for the left and the right seat-heating. To achieve the quickest possible maximum warming up, one only has to press once on the dial. Three LEDs then light up in the center display. To have less heating one has to turn the dial twice- and for even less still, three times. This type of system, with a similar operation for the rear seats in the Volvo, is also possible.

One Volvo also has a system like this as an extra, in this case, we're dealing with a plug-in-hybrid. In purely electric operation it is of course, dependant on range. If one then compares the consumption with other well known systems, e.g., the windscreen wipers, it is much higher. In addition, Volvo also points out, that the people concerned, must also be able to feel the warmth.

If one notices too late, that there's too much heat between the person and the seat, burn-injuries can be the result. Even major manufacturers have difficulties with the insulation of the seat-heating. Apparently, it's not as easy at it would seem, to accomodate the various shapes and weights of bodies in such a way that the inside of the seat or it's cover, doesn't catch fire. Apparently, there have been vehicles with a continous fault that have burnt out completely.

This, it would seem, doesn't worry Volvo very much. In their plug-in-hybrid even a so-called preconditioning is possible, indeed, only if the vehicle is connected to the mains. If one has adjusted a certain time and temperature for the interior, then one can activate the seat-heating, this however must be repeated each time. The idea behind this of course, is that the warmth is generated from the mains and not from the battery.

The seat, by the way, is slowly becoming a small electrical world of it's own. There are seat belt and buckle carriers, airbags on the front edge seat against diving, there are side-bags and lots of servo-motors and fans, also to keep your neck cool, there are speakers and moving warmers (hot-stones) and of course, the mat which prevents the passengerr airbag being released if there is no passenger. The latest achivement are the heated arm-rests, both those between the seats and those on the doors. Now where, would you think could these be found? Dead right, in the Mercedes S-Class. 09/13

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