9 Sep 2022
BMW Group has announced its plans to launch its first vehicles featuring completely “vegan” interiors in 2023, writes ILM.
The company has claimed to do this through the development of innovative materials with “leather-like” properties.
Reportedly in response to demand in the U.S., China and Europe, the new interiors will include steering wheel surfaces and will be available for both BMW and Mini models.
BMW has made this move as part of its efforts to reduce CO2 emissions over the life cycle of its vehicles.
In a statement, the company said: “Material selection has a key role to play in achieving this goal. Replacing raw materials of animal origin makes a significant contribution to increasing sustainability in vehicle production.
“The introduction of a new surface material for steering wheels will see the proportion of vehicle components that contain traces of raw materials of animal origin fall to less than 1% in the respective BMW and Mini vehicles.”
BMW clarified that animal products will still be present in the vehicles, but in places which are not visible to the customer, such as gelatine used in protective coatings, lanolin in paints, tallow as an additive in elastomers and beeswax as a flux for paints.
Uwe Köhler, Head of Development Body, Exterior Trim, Interior at the BMW Group, said: “With a steering wheel made from a high-quality vegan surface material, we are fulfilling the wishes of our customers who do not want to make any compromises in terms of look, feel and functionality.
“The innovative material withstands wear and tear caused by abrasion, perspiration and moisture and has all the desirable properties of leather.”