On the market from 2023, BMW and Mini models with vegan interiors
- #Sustainability in the production of cars through the creation of biological materials instead of animal raw materials
- Avoiding tanning reduces #CO2 #emissions #equivalent by 85 percent
Munich, September 7, 2022
In 2023, the #BMW #Group will launch the first and most fully-vegetable cars. This is possible mainly through the development of innovative materials and properties such as leather. In the future, these can also be used for the surfaces of the steering wheels, where they have to meet very high requirements in terms of feel, premium appearance and wear resistance. Deeper #interior variants will be available from 2023 for the first time for both BMW and Mini models. Therefore, the BMW Group caters to the demand for vegan and leather-free interiors, which will increase in the near future, especially in America, China and Europe.
The reduction of CO2 emissions throughout the vehicle’s life cycle is the BMW Group’s main goal on the path to climate neutrality, which will be reached by 2050 at the latest. The choice of material plays a major role in this. The rejection of animal raw materials makes a significant contribution to increasing sustainability in the production of vehicles. With the introduction of a new surface quality for the steering wheels, the number of car materials that have the effect of animal raw materials will decrease to less than one percent in BMW and Mini cars. For example, various waxy substances such as gelatin as a component of protective coatings, lanolin in paints, tallow as an additive in elastomers and beeswax as a flow of paint remain only in areas that are not visible to customers.
The BMW Group has been offering leather alternatives in various fabric variants for a long time. Now, for the first time, it is possible to use an adequate leather substitute for the most important interface between the driver and the car. Particularly high demands are placed on steering surfaces for appearance, wear resistance and durability. “With a steering wheel made of high-quality vegan materials that will be used in the future, we meet the demands of our customers who do not want to make any compromises in terms of feel, appearance and performance. The innovative material resists the wear and tear of scratches, #sweat and #moisture and has all the positive qualities of #leather,” says Uwe Köhler, Head of Body Development, Exterior and Interior at the BMW Group. The only distinguishing feature of the new material will be the new grain on the steering wheel rim.
Skinless surfaces reduce equivalent CO2 emissions by 85 percent
The fact that high-quality vegan surface materials with qualitatively similar properties can now also replace the genuine leather used so far in the manufacture of steering wheels enables another major step towards CO2 reduction. By using a new material for steering wheel surfaces, around 85 percent of the equivalent CO2 emissions in the value chain are saved compared to leather. So far, most of the emissions have already been released in the form of methane gas from cattle farming, which is about 80 percent. The remaining 20 percent came from the energy and water intensive further processing of cow hides.
#climateneutrality and #circulareconomy first
In a climate-neutral way, the BMW Group relies on the use of “green electricity” in production and in the supply chain, an ever-increasing share of secondary materials and natural raw materials, #electric engines and # combustion engines. and a high level of recycling in the sense of the #circular economy.
It’s all about the details: Floor mats of many models are made from so-called mono material. This avoids mixing of material that is difficult to recycle. As a result, the BMW Group saves approximately 23,000 tons of #CO2 and an additional 1,600 tons of waste every year, as recycled floor mats and shrink wraps are reused in the production process.
#Research and #development in the field of secondary raw materials and sustainable raw materials have a high priority. Future car generations will have other interesting leather alternatives. The BMW Group is developing innovative bio-based surfaces in collaboration with start-up companies. Compared to previously used leather simulations, this is associated with around 45 percent lower CO2 emissions. For example, 100 percent bio-based and petroleum-free Mirum offers the ability to mimic all the traditional characteristics of skin in the future. The newly developed Deserttex contains powdered cactus fibers and a bio-based polyurethane matrix. With these materials, doing without raw materials of animal origin can be combined with a significant reduction of CO2.