DENSO Corp. says it has developed the world’s first automotive air conditioning (A/C) system that is capable of heating/cooling the driver’s area only.

DENSO’s new system can separately control the climate in three different cabin zones, the driver, front passenger and rear seat areas, which can help improve overall fuel economy when the A/C is on.

“With DENSO’s new A/C system, the heating/cooling can be off in unoccupied areas, and temperature can be individually adjusted according to personal preferences when more than one area is heated or cooled,” said Akio Shikamura, senior executive director of DENSO's Thermal Systems Business Group.

“When the driver side A/C is being used only, the A/C system can save up to approximately 20% energy consumption on an annual basis compared with conventional models, which helps improve the vehicle’s fuel efficiency.”

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