As drivers we only really have three points of contact with our cars. Our feet do a little dance on the pedals. Our hands work the steering wheel and gear shifter. But it’s butts in seats that really provide the level of contact with the car that helps us feel what it is doing underneath us. We need a good solid connection between our backside and the chassis to get the most out of a yaw moment or braking event. You can do all of that with a solid piece of carbon fiber, but then it wouldn’t be very comfortable. How does Porsche balance comfort and connectivity?
With new technology advancing every day, Porsche is on the cusp of a new wave of seat construction. With requirements for its seats to be lightweight, comfortable, durable, and able to breathe it isn’t easy to make. In this case Porsche has turned to the 3D printer to help. The center section “comfort layer” of a new generation of seats is crafted from lattice structure additive manufacturing. Customers will be able to choose between three firmness levels (hard, medium, soft) for the comfort layer in the future. With this new technology, the sports car manufacturer is once again underlining its close ties to motor sports: the personalized sports seat follows the principles of driver-specific seat fitting in racing.
“The seat is the interface between the human and the vehicle, and is thus important for precise, sporty handling. That’s why personalised seat shells customised for the driver have been standard in race cars for a long time now,” says Michael Steiner, Member of the Executive Board for Research and Development at Porsche. “With the ‘3D-printed bodyform full-bucket seat’, we’re once again giving series-production customers the opportunity to experience technology carried over from motor sports.”
The base support of the seat is made from expanded polypropylene foam bonded to the breathable 3D printed “comfort layer”. The outer skin of this concept seat is “Racetex” fabric with a perforation pattern designed to help control the climate of your body. Twin windows into the seat itself show off the lattice structure of the 3D material, which can be colored to suit the interior of your car.
Porsche will be kicking off this “3D-printed bodyform full-bucket seat” for 911 and 718 owners from the Tequipment catalog starting in May of this year. Initially the seat will be limited to 40 prototype units for use only on race tracks in Europe when combined with a 6-point racing harness. From then Porsche will receive feedback from its customers and incorporate that into the development process before rolling out internationally. Then the seats will be added to the Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur ordering process from mid-2021.
Do you want these seats? I know I do!