Volvo has committed to removing animal products from the interiors of its electric vehicles, starting with the C40 Recharge SUV.
The Volvo C40 Recharge represents two firsts for the Swedish brand: it will become the company’s first dedicated electric SUV model, but it also be the first Volvo to farewell natural leather as an interior trim.
From the C40 onwards, Volvo has stated that all future fully-electric vehicles will be leather-free.
Powering the all-electric Recharge will be dual electric motors (one on each axle) which will produce a combined output of 300kW and 660Nm that will go to all four wheels.
This will help propel the Volvo to 100km/h in a claimed 4.7 seconds. Fitted with a 78kWh battery pack, the C40 Recharge will have an estimated range of around 480km on the WLTP testing cycle.
The C40 is capable of DC rapid charging at speeds of up to 150kW. Using a 150kW+ charger, the SUV can be charged from 0 to 80 percent in 30 minutes, with the charge session averaging 125kW.
According to the Swedish manufacturer, it is working actively to find high quality and sustainable alternatives to the many materials commonly used in the automotive industry.
By 2025, the company is aiming to make 25 percent of all material used consist of recycled and bio-based content.
Part of that effort will be the removal of leather interiors, which has been inspired by the concern for the negative environmental impacts of farming, including deforestation.
Volvo says that livestock is estimated to be responsible for 14 percent of global greenhouse emissions, largely through cattle farming.
To offset the loss of leather, Volvo has created a new interior material called Nordico, which is made from recycled materials such as PET bottles, bio-attributed material from forests in Sweden and Finland and cork recycled from the wine industry.
“Being a progressive car maker means we need to address all areas of sustainability, not just CO2 emissions,” said Stuart Templar, director of global sustainability at Volvo Cars.
“Responsible sourcing is an important part of that work, including respect for animal welfare. Going leather-free inside our pure electric cars is a good next step towards addressing this issue.
“Having a truly progressive and sustainable mindset means we need to ask ourselves difficult questions and actively try and find answers,” he said.
With the exception of breathable cloth, artificial seat upholstery in the past has struggled to shrug off Australian heat in summer where it is not also actively ventilated.
We’ll be testing the heat performance of Nordico – and the rest of the Volvo C40 Recharge – when the electric SUV launches in Australia next year.
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Volvo to introduce RWD, bigger battery for C40 Recharge, XC40 Recharge, late 2023 Australian launch likely