The next time you get a Porsche, you might be sitting on a printed seat. The German automaker recently announced it’s been working on a concept study involving “3D-printed bodyform full-bucket seat” design.
Basically, this addresses not the seat structure, but rather the seat and back cushions. Those are the points your body really contacts and are what you care about most. When ordering a Porsche, you’ll be able to choose the firmness level of your seat cushioning, as long as you’re OK with the Three Bears stratification of hard, medium, and soft.
This development comes from motorsports, where drivers get to choose the kind of padding in their seat. The one potential problem is when you go to sell your used Porsche and it has the “wrong” firmness level for the seats, that could make it harder to find a buyer.
On the flip side, your preferred seat firmness could keep a significant other from “stealing” the car, leaving you to drive something less exciting.
Those printed cushions have a sandwich construction with a base layer of expanded polypropylene. That’s bonded to a breathable polyurethane-based mix of materials for comfort. For the actual upholstery, a material called Racetex is used, which features a specific perforation pattern to keep you from feeling too hot or cold.
Unfortunately, Porsche will test this out in Europe first. If it’s deemed a success, it might be expanded to the U.S. and elsewhere.