Volvo is ditching leather in all of its EVs to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Shawn Knight

Posts: 13,525   +132
Staff member
The big picture: Volvo’s future electric cars aren’t just doing away with combustion engines to help the environment. The Swedish automaker has said that starting with the new C40 Recharge compact sport utility vehicle, all new fully electric Volvo models will be completely void of leather. As part of the initiative, Volvo said it is actively working to find high-quality and sustainable replacements for many materials currently used in the auto industry.

Indeed, Volvo is going all in. By 2025, the automaker forecasts that 25 percent of the material in new models will be comprised of recycled and bio-based content. Furthermore, Volvo is mandating that its immediate suppliers use 100 percent renewable energy by 2025.

Come 2030, Volvo expects to ship only fully electric vehicles.

Volvo said its decision to move away from leather-based interiors has to do with its concern about the negative impact of cattle farming on the environment. The automaker said livestock is estimated to be responsible for roughly 14 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions “from human activity,” with most of that coming from cattle farming.

With leather out of the equation, Volvo is turning to new interior materials. Nordico, the brand’s leading replacement, is a textile created from recycled bottles, bio-attributed material from sustainable forests in Finland and Sweden, and recycled wine bottle corks. The company says it’ll also continue to offer wool blend options from suppliers that are certified to source responsibly.

How will luxury vehicle buyers respond to no longer being out to option their ride with premium leather, and will the replacement materials exhibit the same sort of durability that full-grain leather is known for? Only time will tell.

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scavengerspc

Posts: 1,681   +1,733
TechSpot Elite
I can't wait to see how many people here, that have never set their can in a REAL leather seat in their lives, will see this as the end of civilization as we know it.

Not to mention, they will never get to sit in a car seat made of Alcantara (Ultrasuede) which makes sitting in a leather seat feel like sitting on a piece of plywood.
 
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DZillaXx

Posts: 385   +508
I can't wait to see how many people here, that have never set their can in a REAL leather seat in their lives, will see this as the end of civilization as we know it.

Not to mention, they will never get to sit in a car seat made of Alcantara (Ultrasuede) which makes sitting in a leather seat feel like sitting on a piece of plywood.

Well the padding underneath is what makes a seat feel like plywood or not. I've sat in Alcantara before, it is nice. But nice thing about leather and pleather was the clean ability. Alcantara can easily get gross looking.

Leather is not as commonly used as the fake stuff that 90% of cars actually use. They say leather, but it isn't really leather. Nor do you want it to be. I've been in plenty of old BMW's with real leather to know I don't want that. Even with regular upkeep, and I mean regular. It will Crack at somepoint. The fake stuff is so good now that It will stay together for 20+ years. The Fake Crap GM was using a decade ago had trouble holding up 5 years....

People won't notice, their fake leather is just going to be even more fake in the future.
 

scavengerspc

Posts: 1,681   +1,733
TechSpot Elite
Well the padding underneath is what makes a seat feel like plywood or not. I've sat in Alcantara before, it is nice.
Very true, and I was exaggerating about the plywood thing. But man I do love Alcantara seats. It's like sitting on a big pile of microfiber towels.

But nice thing about leather and pleather was the clean ability. Alcantara can easily get gross looking.
True again man, and also Alcantara is not all that durable. It requires major attention if someone gets it in a family car.
 

VitalyT

Posts: 5,956   +6,227
To describe Volvo,....or Chinese version of it today...

Some of the most uneconomical engines, advertised as the most economical ones. Well, at least they got a sense of humor, or maybe they’re just liars.

A "premium brand", with naked wiring looking at you from a few places? And an ancient MMI made from tar plastic? Oh please!
 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 5,310   +6,033
As long as the materials holds up and isn't scorching hot in hot summers - and offers heating and cooling, no one really cares about "real leather" anymore.

I've driven the Polestar 2 and it has a lot of recycled plastics woven into the interior and for the most part: it's OK.

Mercedes Benz textile in my W222 is fine and I enjoy the comfort.

 

mgwerner

Posts: 133   +144
Oh, yes, replace a tried and tested material that is fit to purpose with something that will likely not hold up the same length of time or be as comfortable, all in the name of a myth. Morons.
 

Mr Majestyk

Posts: 875   +769
Oh, yes, replace a tried and tested material that is fit to purpose with something that will likely not hold up the same length of time or be as comfortable, all in the name of a myth. Morons.
It's a toxic industry and I should be banned outright. Leather is not a by-product of beef cattle. It's also barbaric. What the hell is wrong with cloth seats anyway, leather sucks for car seats.
 

nismo91

Posts: 1,156   +198
As long as they can provide balance between comfort and cleanability it should be acceptable to most users. I think leather and even faux leather can deliver that so both are suitable for most people.

problem is, some other materials like fabric easily absorb dusts and smells. when the car is new it's great because it's clean and relatively odorless, but within some time it can turn the seat smelling sweaty and disgusting. it's actually the real reason I prefer leather. or maybe faux leather if you have small kids.


 

bexwhitt

Posts: 553   +238
Environmental reasons for not using leather don't wash, unless cows are only killed for their skin. I personally prefer fabric seats they are less slidey.
 
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Vulcanproject

Posts: 1,409   +2,514
If you want leather seats then most car manufacturers have pretty good imitations. I like modern leather seats for the durability and easy clean nature. Only because I don't keep cars out in hot climates, otherwise you would be pretty nuts to have it anyway.
 

RudyBob

Posts: 238   +249
I don't know what my car seat is made out of...it ain't leather. Some kinda fabric is all I know. As long as my *** don't hurt after twenty miles I don't care what it is made out of. Cars are overrated
 

scavengerspc

Posts: 1,681   +1,733
TechSpot Elite
Oh, yes, replace a tried and tested material that is fit to purpose with something that will likely not hold up the same length of time or be as comfortable, all in the name of a myth. Morons.
You probably don't even know how above it all you are, brother. When you used that word at the end of your post, your post got to stay. Even though I used it the same way you did mine was deleted.

And yes this will go too. I just wanted them, and anyone else in the meantime, to see what they did.
 
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wiyosaya

Posts: 6,576   +4,964
Maybe I never sat on real leather, but I would not have it in a vehicle of mine. For me, it is too uncomfortable. My butt overheats while sitting on it. I cannot stand it.
 

captaincranky

Posts: 17,442   +6,173
Chemicals used in the tanning process? Sulfuric acid, formaldehyde, heavy oils, among others. Yum. :rolleyes:
I really hate to burst your bubble here, (Who am I kidding, I enjoy the heck out of it), BUT, this whole "Volvo is doing away with leather", proclamation, is, to a certain degree, tokenism. It's also (again to a certain extent), a publicity stunt..

There are chemicals in more widespread use, as toxic as, or more toxic than, those used in tanning leathers.

Meet "methyl isocyanate" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methyl_isocyanate

"The risks of isocyanates was brought to the world's attention with the Bhopal disaster, which caused the death of nearly 4000 people. The release of methyl isocyanate (MIC) was the cause of this disaster". (Wiki)

"Polyisocyanate" is used heavily as a hardening agent in modern automotive finishes, whose MSDS incidentally contain the "who's who", of dangerous chemicals. I nicknamed ir, "Bhopal punch", but was assured that it wasn't as dangerous as MIC. So why then, are paint manufacturers insisting on supplied air respirators when spraying materials containing it?

Meet "Aqua regia" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aqua_regia
Meet, "Hydrazine", https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrazine

Tn fairness, I haven't been involved with automotive refinishing in 40 years. Perhaps there have been some, or many, improvements since then. Back then our, famous, "everything causes cancer" state, California, was insisting on "water based lacquers". Which is an oxymoron, since the characteristic of a true lacquer, is the fact that true lacquers, can always be thinned or removed, by their original solvent, whereas "paints" can't..

(Think "shellac", and what its original solvent," alcohol" will do to it).

Again in fairness, modern automotive finishing uses both electrostatic application and polyester, (which is cured with UV light) materials and techniques.

Another fun fact, is that MIC is used in the manufacture of expanded polyurethane foam, which at the present time can't be recycled.
 
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Watzupken

Posts: 342   +320
Is it really for environment or an excuse to cut cost? Its like a lot of companies say I am removing the straw for the environment, but the primary reason is to reduce cost. Factually, companies are profit seekers, not tree huggers. They do the latter for other reasons.