The Kia EV3: A Revolutionary Electric Car Interior Made from Mushrooms, Hemp, and More!
In a groundbreaking move towards sustainability, Kia has unveiled the concept version of its upcoming electric small car, the Kia EV3, featuring interiors made from an astonishing array of natural materials. The innovative use of mushrooms, hemp, corn, sugarcane, and other organic substances is part of Kia’s ambitious plan to incorporate sustainable elements into its cabin construction.
Dubbed the “10 must-have sustainable items,” these naturally grown materials contribute to creating an eco-friendly and nature-inspired interior for the EV3. Alongside conventional materials like sawdust and ‘bio-polyurethane’ leather, Kia has also integrated floor carpets made from 100% recycled PET bottles and offered the option of using materials crafted from recycled fishing nets.
Among the most intriguing material choices is mycelium, the root material from which mushrooms sprout. Kia’s decision to use mycelium stems from its unique property of being moldable into any desired shape using a mold. This allows for customizable interior pieces that can truly bring the connection to nature alive within the vehicle.
While some of the aforementioned materials are already being used in other Kia models like the EV9, EV6, Niro, and the not-yet-available-in-Australia Soul EV, the incorporation of mycelium interior pieces is currently limited to the concept stage. Nevertheless, Kia is steadfast in making this groundbreaking material a priority in its production models to bridge the gap between cars and the natural world.
Kia emphasizes that the natural fibers used for the EV3 concept’s seats not only contribute to sustainability but also reduce weight and add a unique and natural tone to the interior ambiance. As for the EV4, Kia takes sustainability a step further by utilizing handwoven 3D-effect fabric in the boot area and seat covers. Additionally, hemp is skillfully integrated into the construction of the center console table, providing both sustainability and a visually pleasing rich color to enhance the EV concept’s cabin.
Innovative materials continue to make their way into the Kia lineup, with the EV4 showcasing natural dyeing techniques using madder root and walnut shells, resulting in captivating and distinctive tonalities within the interior design.
Kia’s commitment to sustainability extends beyond the choice of materials. Since the debut of the EV9, Kia has vowed to eliminate the use of real leather in its vehicles, opting instead for “natural” polyurethanes. Harmful materials like PVC have also been phased out in the production of various components for Kia cars.
Jochen Paesen, Kia’s Vice President of Interior Design, acknowledges the challenges of bringing these innovative materials to production. He explains that while it is relatively easy to introduce them for short-term use, designing materials with longevity to withstand the wear and tear of a car’s extended lifespan presents a greater challenge. However, Kia is actively collaborating with suppliers and startups to accelerate the development of sustainable and long-lasting materials.
Kia’s interior material choices reflect the changing landscape of the fashion industry, where sustainable materials have gained significant importance. Paesen states that Kia has completely ceased the use of real leather in its vehicles since the EV9 and focuses on reducing the amount of plastic in synthetic leathers, particularly by avoiding the use of environmentally harmful PVC.
Customer perception plays an essential role in the adoption of these new materials. Paesen states that Kia’s new materials undergo rigorous testing to ensure they meet the same standards as traditional materials. With time, it is hoped that these sustainable alternatives will be recognized for their high quality and longevity.
This commitment to sustainability is part of Kia’s comprehensive transformation as it gears up for a more electrified era. Alongside launching a range of affordable electric options, including the global EV5 mid-size SUV and the yet-to-be-revealed EV2 for the European market, Kia is also reevaluating its sourcing of materials and batteries to reduce costs and enhance sustainability.
As Kia continues its massive overhaul, the EV5 is set to hit Australian markets in 2024, followed by the production version of the EV3 small SUV. The EV4 crossover sedan and EV2 are scheduled for release in 2025.
Kia’s relentless pursuit of sustainable solutions in its vehicles exemplifies its commitment to creating a greener future, one electric car at a time. With the use of organic materials like mushrooms, hemp, corn, and sugarcane, Kia’s EV3 stands as a testament to the brand’s dedication to not only revolutionizing the automotive industry but also preserving our planet for future generations.
Remember, when it comes to sustainable innovation, Kia is driving the change towards a greener and more environmentally conscious future.