Last Updated on January 27, 2023 by Victor A
The German automaker BMW plans to offer completely almost vegan interiors for their vehicles starting next year to serve the demand for leather-free interiors.
This move aims to increase the appeal of BMW vehicles in Europe, the US, and China.
BMW aims to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 and believes that replacing leather with vegan alternatives will help them reach that goal.
The biggest challenge for the Bavarian automaker was creating a vegan steering wheel that would be able to withstand the same amount of wear and tear as a leather steering wheel.
The steering wheel is an essential part of a car that is affected by a lot of degradation due to the continued friction it experiences.
BMW’s new high-quality vegan surface material will hold out against moisture, perspiration, and wear and tear. They assure that their vegan replacement will feel and last as long as leather.
Some other parts of the car still use animal products, like the gelatin used for the protective coatings, the lanolin, beeswax, and additives that are used in the paints.
However, BMW says that these materials only add up to one percent of all the interior.
Starting next year, Mini interiors will also receive all those vegan options. BMW is also working on easier recycling of the already vegan materials that were on their vehicles, like the carpets.
To do so, they plan on using a single material instead of mixing some, so it becomes easier to break down and later be re-utilized. By using a single material they can save around 23,000 tonnes of CO2 and 1,600 tonnes of waste per year.
BMW claims that their future vehicles will offer other attractive alternatives to leather. They are working with different start-up companies to develop bio-based materials. Overall, this move by BMW is a step in the right direction in terms of sustainability.
BMW aims to Climate Neutrality in the future
Their goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2050 will be achieved by relying on green electricity for the production and the supply chain, the use of natural raw materials, making more efficient electric motors and more efficient combustion engines, and achieving better recycling rates.
Note that BMW is not the first automaker to move away from leather interiors. For example, Tesla has introduced vegan leather options in their Model S and Model X years ago, while Ford offers the Ford Mustang Mach-E with standard vegan interiors.
The switch to a vegan interior is part of a larger trend in the automotive industry which aims to move away from using leather as the material is becoming increasingly unpopular among customers who are concerned about the environmental and ethical implications of the leather industry.