Volvo is committed to durable, leather-free interiors for future electric vehicles

Swedish manufacturer Volvo treads on sustainability and environmental friendliness similar to those of other major automakers by switching from gas to electric. This shifting philosophy is evident in new electric cars like the Mazda MX-30 EV (and its cork interior) and the BMW iX. Volvo goes further by taking an ethical stance for animal welfare. From now on (and from the C40 Recharge electric crossover onwards) every production Volvo EV will be leatherless.

Cows and global warming

Volvo claims that animal husbandry contributes 14 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and that most of it comes from cattle farming. According to the University of California at Davis, cattle are the primary agricultural source of greenhouse gases in the world, and a single cow will belch 220 lbs. of methane each year. Although methane from cow’s farts has a shorter lifespan than carbon dioxide, the former is 28 times more powerful at warming the atmosphere.

“Being a progressive automaker means we have to tackle all areas of sustainability, not just CO2 emissions,” said Stuart Templar, director of global sustainability at Volvo Cars, and who happens to have the coolest name. in the world. Free inside our purely electric cars is a good next step towards solving this problem. “

Photo: Volvo Automotive Group.

Become completely vegan

Volvo thinks going without leather is a step in the right direction, but “doing it alone doesn’t make a car interior vegan” (Volvo really said vegan in its press release, without making it up). In essence, Volvo wants to reduce the use of waste products from animal production commonly used in or in the production of plastics, rubber, lubricants and adhesives, either as an integral part of the material or as an process chemical in the production or processing of the material. “Finding products and materials that support animal welfare will be a challenge, but it’s no reason to avoid this important problem,” Templar added.

Volvo will continue to use wool, but the automaker will only source wool from suppliers who are certified to source responsibly. In addition, Volvo is committed to ensuring traceability and animal welfare in its wool supply chain.

From bottles to textiles

Instead of using cowhide, Volvo will turn to recycled plastic and discarded organic items from the wine industry for its next generation of sustainable interior materials. For example, Volvo has created Nordico, a new material derived from recycled PET bottles. He is also working on bio-attributed materials from sustainable forests in Finland and Sweden. And like the Mazda MX-30, Volvo’s new electric vehicles will also have interior materials made from recycled cork.

Interior of Volvo XC40 Recharge.
Photo: Volvo Automotive Group.

A greener future

Volvo plans to have 25 percent of all materials in its new vehicles consist of bio-based and recycled content. The automaker aims to become a fully circular business by 2040 and source materials only from suppliers that use 100% renewable energy by 2025. Volvo also wants to be a fully electric manufacturer by 2030 .

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“It’s a trip worth taking,” Templar concluded. “Having a truly progressive and sustainable mindset means that we have to ask ourselves tough questions and actively try to find answers. “

Alvin Reyes is an Automoblog columnist and expert in sports and performance cars. He studied civil aviation, aeronautics and accounting in his youth and is still very attached to his former Lancer GSR and Galant SS. He also enjoys fried chicken, music and herbal medicine.

Photos and source: Volvo Car Group.

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