Design & Technology
Stay cool and comfortable in the heat of summer June 25th, 2009
By Ki, Chang-ju
Seat System Design Team
Ventilated seats for all-new Sorento
I was one of the research engineers of the seat system design team for the all-new Sorento. I’d like to tell you a little about the ventilated seats that’ll make driving more pleasant in the summer.
Even with air-conditioning, long distance driving can become uncomfortable on a hot and humid summer day. After driving for a prolonged time, most people will feel sticky and sweaty.
That’s why luxury sedans feature intergrated cooling/heating systems with seats that blow air to keep the driver comfortable.
This, of course, translates into extra cost and added weight which is why they are usually installed only in luxury sedans. To resolve both the cost and weight issues, Kia created a system in which air is blown directly from the seat. It was designed to provide the same quality of ventilation as systems in more expensive cars at a lower cost.
Let me give you a quick overview of the structure and mechanism of our ventilation system.
When the ventilated seat is activated, a motor inside the blower pushes out air via a duct to the seat cushion and back. This controls the seat’s temperature and dampness to provide greater comfort for the driver. The breathable seat offers three levels of ventilation which is controlled by the ECU module.
After development, I remember testing the system in a chamber with a temperature of 38℃ and 80% humidity. Those conditions are said to create the highest level of discomfort.
Based on various specifications, the system was activated under the conditions noted above. It could pass the test only if the temperature and humidity dropped to the targeted levels. Thanks to repeated testing and stringent testing standards, Kia managed to develop a ventilation system that keeps drivers and passengers cool and comfortable even on extended drives.
The mechanism behind the system is simple.
The system is activated by turning the ventilated seat dial switch (see figure above) to the left when the vehicle is in Key-on mode. The switch is located in the center console to the right of the driver’s seat. Ventilation force can be set to three levels using the dial.
The all-new Sorento’s ventilated seats ensure a comfortable and enjoyable driving experience, even in the hottest days of summer. Try it out for yourself when the all-new Sorento makes its debut in your area!