On the road

Eco friendly innovator

The distinctive aroma of a natural-leather vehicle interior may soon be a thing of the past as car makers look to clean up their environmental and ethical credentials.

Korean car maker Kia is one brand experimenting with new synthetic leathers, along with other eco-friendly materials to replace petrochemical-based plastics.

The company’s EV3 and EV4 concept cars feature what it describes as game-changing ecofriendly materials and methodologies. From sustainable fibre weaves that deliver a lightweight, slimmer seat design, to a console table made of mycelium (extracted from mushroom roots), the EV3 explores new materials and manufacturing techniques, including so-called bio-fabrication.

The Concept EV4, meanwhile, features an interior that utilises natural dyes extracted from madder roots and walnut shells, 100 percent recycled cotton, and a console made of sustainable hemp fibres.

Other sustainable materials already being introduced into Kia’s production include bioplastic, produced from sources such as vegetable oils, corn extract, sawdust and sugarcane; bio-based polyurethane which incorporates plant-based components and is used as a leather replacement; carpets created from 100 percent recycled PET, including recycled fishing nets; and bio paint created using rapeseed oil.

Visit the Kia website to find out more.