Vehicle sustainability goes beyond mobility aspects such as batteries and emissions. The circular economy now plays a major role in the industry’s goals to be environmentally friendly every day. Automakers should not focus on the reduction of harmful emissions and particulates. The entire production process needs to strive for carbon neutrality and resource efficiency. As a result, traditional concepts of automation are slowly changing, and consumers are starting to take notice.
Kia Motors is at the forefront of this revolution, focusing on using sustainable materials in the manufacturing of vehicles. The EV9’s innovative design leads the way, and Kia plans to extend the use of these materials to other models such as the EV6. This effort is based on 10 sustainable materials that will be key components for the cars of the future. By prioritizing sustainability, new Kia models will be more environmentally friendly than ever before. Here are some of the materials you can expect to see on their cars soon.
Recycled floor mats
Kia uses recycled PET plastic in various interior parts, including floor mats made from old fishing nets. This serves a dual purpose by giving the material a second life and helping to address the negative effects of discarded nets on marine life.
A material that will gradually become more widely used is 100% recycled cotton with natural dyes made from the roots of rubiaceous plants and walnut shells. It is a sustainable material that offers an almost unlimited range of shades and nuances.
Another innovative material with great potential is plastic made from renewable plant sources such as vegetable oil, sawdust, corn extract and sugar cane. Bioplastics reduce reliance on fossil fuels in production processes and reduce workers’ exposure to hazardous chemicals. It can be used in dashboards, structural pillars and other interior components.
Biopolyurethane is a material that Kia plans to use to replace animal skin in its interiors. It contains plant-based ingredients, which help reduce carbon emissions. It is soft, transparent and offers good grip for the comfortable passenger seats.
This type of plant-based leather has a lower carbon footprint than animal leather. The vegetable leather used in models such as the Kia Niro contains Tencel, a material made from eucalyptus wood, which is biodegradable and produced without waste.
Polyurethane foam has many uses and boasts properties such as high durability and compressive strength. Made using natural oils, Kia already uses this sustainable material in the EV9’s headliners.
The roof of the Kia Niro is lined with 56% recycled paper fibers. Its use reduces the amount of paper waste and no trees need to be cut down to produce cellulose.
Felt made from recycled plastic bottles is soft and durable, and also provides good sound insulation. That is why it is used in the trunk of the Kia EV9, as it is ideal for transporting personal items and even pets.
This biomaterial is extracted from the roots of the Mycelium fungus, which is grown in a mold to give it the desired shape. It is strong but also very soft. It is used in the EV3 prototype console and will surely have other applications in the future.
Bio-based paint currently has limited applications, but will provide a more sustainable alternative to paint made from petroleum. The bio-dye used by Kia is made from rapeseed oil, which is widely used in the food and pharmaceutical industries.
This is perhaps the most well-known sustainable material. The automotive industry turns used plastics into new materials, ensuring they don’t end up in landfills or harm the environment. Its use also reduces the need for new plastics in the production process, which helps conserve non-renewable resources.
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