GM has filed a patent application for a so-called “Radiant Heating System” that is designed to warm an occupant of an enclosed space. The new system appears to be a more energy-efficient method to keep vehicle occupants comfortable, and should prove useful in electric vehicles, serving as an alternative to traditional HVAC systems that use more energy.
The GM patent filing has been assigned application number US 2022/0111703 A1 with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and was published April 14th, 2022. The patent is titled “Class A Surface Radiant Heating System,” and was originally filed October 14th, 2020. The patent lists several Michigan-based engineers as the inventors, including Oumta G Youkhana, Michael S. Demianenko, Kuo-huey Chen, and Rami Z. Sayed.
The patent describes a radiant heating system and includes a graphic with numerous surfaces located around a vehicle occupant. The surfaces are visible to the occupant and are designed with an aesthetic quality. Exposed across the surfaces are conductive strands, while a power supply heats the strands to keep the occupant comfortable. The system also incorporates a controller to regulate the energy supplied to the conductive strands.
Looking over the graphic within the patent application, we see heated surfaces around the foot well, door panel, windshield, roof panel, and side window.
A system like this is designed to provide adequate comfort inside the cabin while staying as energy-efficient as possible. Additionally, the system would more quickly alleviate the sense of being cold by directly heating adjacent surfaces, something which traditional HVAC systems typically lag in providing vehicle occupants.
As General Motors moves towards offering a fully electric lineup, systems like this will be necessary in order to ensure maximum range-per-charge without sacrificing passenger comfort.
To note, some German car manufacturers already offer heated surfaces with their more upscale products. For example, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class offers heated armrests and neck cushions.