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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.