Although it has recently been shown that China is responsible to a large extent for the rise in ozone-destroying CFC-11 pollutant thanks to new gas production, we are all held to be guilty. That’s why we, as UK motorists, have to pay the price to help save our environment. As a consequence our cars have become cleaner and greener over time and the next area to get the make-over is the interior.
Carbon fibre used to be the ultimate in vehicle interior embellishments. That and an exclusive dashboard, real wood trim inserts and the finest Nappa leather seats demonstrated to the casual onlooker that the car was an expensive bit of kit. Well, leather it seems is so last week: Now it's time for plants.
Once, in the most expensive cars, the most sublime hotels and houses up for the Good Designer Home award, leather ruled. Today the watchword is ‘sustainability’ and it is providing the framework for change. At the New York Motor show recently, visitors were introduced to Land Rover's new line of leather-free, fully vegan materials developed for the brand’s 2020 Range Rover Evoque, the Velar, and Jaguar’s I-Pace.
This, we learn, is in response to the news that a growing number of people are concerned with the provenance of the textiles and materials in the cars that they buy. These new interiors are apparently meant to attract those consumers for whom the highest form of luxury aligns with their ecological beliefs.
What We Can Expect
We are all well aware by now of Alcantara. Indeed, at any given time some of the fine cars sold by us may well be at least part-upholstered with it. Despite having a similar appearance to suede, Alcantara can endure much tougher treatment without spoiling its soft characteristics. This makes it an ideal material to use inside cars, brushing off light scuffs and marks with ease. There’s more of these new materials to come.
Here’s a couple of examples: The first is called ‘Eucalyptus Melange’ (seriously; not making this up). It is a textile produced from eucalyptus fibres and it uses significantly less water during production than traditional materials such as plastic and the aforementioned Alcantara. It can be any colour you like. It is not however known whether Australia’s Koala bear population has been consulted.
Moving on, we find ‘Dinamica Suedecloth’ which is both flameproof and extremely durable and, using microfibres, mimics suede. It is made from recycled plastic bottles. If a car interior was upholstered with this, 53 bottles would be recycled on average; which is a quite pleasing statistic. Taken together, they provide a vegetarian, if not fully animal-product-free, option for the car buyers who want to do their bit in small ways to help the environment.
Other car manufacturers are also adding eco-conscious options to interiors. Volvo wants at least 25% of the plastics used in every newly built model it launches by 2025 to be made from recycled materials. In today’s market this figure is around five percent. Earlier this year the Volvo subsidiary Polestar touted that its first volume model, the Polestar 2, would have a vegan interior. Toyota makes seat cushion material that uses glycol from renewable sugar cane rather than glycol derived from petroleum. Hyundai sources ground-up volcanic rock to form the support pillar coverings for its vehicles; Ford have developed a seat foam from soybeans and so on.
As previously mentioned, some of the cars offered for sale
here at eCars247 may well have some artificial materials as part of their interiors and this is a good thing. Generally, it makes for improved wear characteristics and a quality feel. If you are searching for your next car why not inspect our listings? Bear in mind too that we are the only online retailer offering a full fourteen day ‘test drive’
. Are you sitting comfortably?