Kia EV3 and EV4 concepts embrace sustainable materials for interior designs

Kia is aiming to make a difference and innovate interior designs of its electric cars by utilising its checklist of "10-must have sustainability items"

Kia has unveiled further details of the interiors of the EV3 and EV4 concept vehicles and the game-changing eco-friendly materials and methodologies used to create them, which will play an essential role in the brand’s transition to a sustainable mobility solutions provider.

Back in May, we reported that the South Korean manufacturer was looking to apply its 10 must-have sustainability items to all new Kia model lines, aiming to achieve sustainability at scale, starting with its latest flagship EV9.

Now with the latest reveal of the EV3 and EV4 concepts, which already look sleek, stylish and futuristic from the outside, the company is pulling all the stops for the interior too, with the designers in its CMF (Colour, Materials, Finish) team searching for new materials and ideas to innovate with the environment in mind.

The EV3 design team took inspiration from the element of Air, with optimum use of light and transparency throughout the cabin. As with the Kia Concept EV4, the Kia CMF team also utilised an array of innovative sustainable materials that reduce the vehicle’s environmental impact, provide greater design freedom, and afford unprecedented levels of colour choice and trim finish.

>  Kia releases “10 must-have sustainability items” with new EV9

For the Concept EV3, the Kia team turned to natural fibres, instead of deploying the conventional carbon fibres which would have been used otherwise. Natural fibre, Kia says, is not only as strong as carbon, but is also sustainable, while at the same time enables more elegant, modern aesthetics. The seat covers are made using 3D Knit technology, resulting a 3D effect with soft surface, reduced stitching and zero waste material.

And what’s even more commendable is the fact that the material Kia chose for the inside of the Concept EV3’s console table was not manufactured – it was grown! Marília Biill, Head of CMF Design at Kia, said: “Mycelium, which comes from mushroom roots, combines excellent strength with an extremely soft surface. Developing grown materials, a process referred to as bio fabrication, is a major goal for Kia.

“Using Mycelium enables us to mimic the processes we see in nature and leverage it to design more sustainable solutions – the material can be grown in any shape you want using a mould. The use of Mycelium is still at a very early stage, and, as part of Kia’s Sustainability Strategy, we are working with partners to accelerate development of the material. One day, by growing our own materials, we’ll be able to simplify processes, adapt forms and most importantly, be closer to nature in its essence.”

For creating the Concept EV4’s cabin, the Kia CMF team took inspiration from the element Earth. By applying natural dyes to 100 per cent recycled cotton, using madder roots and walnut shells, the team can take advantage of a near-endless range of tonalities and hues, courtesy of nature.

Determined to give the Concept EV4 cabin an ambience of sheer uniqueness and exceptional quality, Kia wove fabric stripes by hand and applied them to the car’s storage area and dashboard. This handcrafted approach creates a 3D effect as stunning and beautiful in execution as the 3D Knit finish used in the Concept EV3 seat covers.

To elevate the aesthetic appeal and functionality of the Concept EV4’s console table, Kia’s CMF designers turned to hemp fibres. “Hemp is a rapidly growing plant that requires minimal resources to cultivate,” explains Marília Biill. “Not only is it highly sustainable, but it’s also highly mouldable too, which means it is a very versatile material to work with, plus it enhances the EV concept’s cabin with its beautiful rich colour.”

Kia had said earlier that as part of its advanced efforts, it will continue to invest in testing and development programs to accelerate the implementation of bio-fabrication, underscoring its dedication to advancing sustainable technologies. It seems like the manufacturer is following on its promise and continuing innovating with sustainability in mind.

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