Kia has unveiled new details of its ‘10 must-have sustainability items’, which define a baseline for the use of sustainable materials in its future model lines.
Kia has a long history of integrating sustainable materials into its products, starting with the use of bioplastic and sugar cane bio-fiber in the 2014 Soul EV. Kia has continued to pursue sustainability in its products, with the current range of plant-based components and use of recycled PET and discarded fishing nets in the production of its fabrics and carpets.
Now, as a step towards achieving the brand’s aim of carbon neutrality across its operations by 2045, Kia has announced further details of its overarching Design Sustainability Strategy. The initiative aims to accomplish sustainability at scale, while providing the best material solutions for all new model lines.
The first action has seen Kia make a firm commitment to completely phase out the use of leather in all new products. The second, detailed below, will see Kia integrate its 10 must-have sustainability items into its new model lines, starting with the EV9. Finally, as part of its advanced efforts, Kia will continue to invest in testing and development programs to accelerate the implementation of bio-fabrication, underscoring its dedication to advancing sustainable technologies.
10 must-have sustainability items in the EV9
Bioplastics are an exciting and innovative type of plastic that can be produced using a variety of renewable biomass sources such as vegetable oils, corn extract, sawdust and sugar cane. Using bioplastic not only helps to lessen reliance on fossil fuels, but also offers the added benefits of diversified sourcing and reduced exposure to unwanted chemicals.
Apart from its sustainability, bioplastic is also versatile and durable enough to be used in various components of the car's interior. From the dashboard and console to the pillars and garnishes, you can find bio plastic incorporated throughout the EV9's design.
2. Post-consumer material (PCM) plastic
Post-consumer material (PCM) plastic is precisely what it sounds like: plastic made using recycled material from existing products rather than new, ‘virgin’ pellets.
This revolutionary process has several benefits that span the entire production lifecycle. Firstly, it significantly reduces the amount of plastic waste that ends up in landfills or pollutes the environment. Secondly, post-consumer recycled plastic also helps to conserve non-renewable resources by reducing the need for virgin materials to be used in the creation of new products.
One of the key areas where PCM plastic has been incorporated into the new Kia EV9 is the door garnishes. Kia's integration of post-consumer recycled plastic into the EV9's construction is a proactive step that contributes to waste reduction and landfill regeneration.
3. Bio PU
In its efforts to phase out leather, Kia identified Bio Polyurethane (PU) as the optimal solution, given its potential to reduce overall carbon emissions and incorporate plant-based components, ultimately contributing to a more sustainable balance.
Bio PU not only offers a sustainable alternative, but it also delivers a comfortable seating experience. Carefully designed to provide excellent support, cushioning, and durability, as well as a soft and breathable feel, Bio PU can be found in the seats and interior coverings of the new Kia EV9.
4. Recycled PET fabric
Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is among the most easily recycled plastics in the world, making it ideal for various sustainable applications from water bottles to clothing.
With good resistance to impact, moisture and solvents, it is the ideal fabric with which to cover exposed surfaces within the car. Kia has taken this one step further by using recycled yarn to partially compose its PET fabric, ensuring both sustainability and durability in the interiors of the new Kia EV9.
This material can be found in numerous areas of the EV9's interior, including the seats, headliner, sun visor, garnish, and headrests. Notably, each EV9 incorporates at least 70 recycled bottles, highlighting the brand's commitment to reducing waste.
5. Recycled PET carpet
In addition to its presence in rest of the cabin, Kia utilizes 100 per cent recycled PET in the creation of its standard carpets. Going further still, the brand offers the option of a portion of this material coming from recycled fishing nets.
This is not only an innovative use of waste, but also addresses the serious problem of discarded and lost fishing nets that devastate marine life around the world. Around 640,000 tons of fishing gear ends up in the oceans each year, resulting in the deaths of countless marine creatures, including sea birds, whales and seals.
By capturing and recycling ghost nets, Kia is not only working toward mitigating the entry of plastic particulates into the water as they break down, but limiting the impact they have on the crucial ecosystems of our oceans altogether.
The cabin floors of the new Kia EV9 feature carpets made from recycled PET and fishing nets.
6. Bio PU foam
Polyurethane (PU) foam is a versatile material with applications ranging from sports gear to space shuttle insulation. Its excellent durability and compression characteristics also make it an ideal choice for cushioning in a wide range of applications, such as furniture, bedding, and footwear.
Made with the help of natural oils, Kia’s Bio PU foam offers the resilience and suppleness of standard polyurethane with a reduced impact on the planet.
Bio PU foam can be found in the headrests of the new Kia EV9.
7. Bio paint
Bio paint is more sustainable than alternatives made using crude oil and reduces chemical waste normally derived from the manufacturing process.
Kia’s bio paint is made using rapeseed oil, a vegetable oil obtained from rapeseed and commonly used in the food, biofuel, paint, cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries.
Bio paint can be found on the door switch panels of the new Kia EV9, minimizing environmental impact without compromising on quality.
8. BTX-free paint
Kia has proactively addressed the harmful environmental effects associated with the use of the combination of benzene, toluene, and xylene (BTX) by adopting a sustainable solution: BTX-free paints.
By applying BTX-free paints in its models, the brand offers the same high-quality protection and finish that customers expect, while simultaneously minimizing the use of polluting chemicals.
In line with its commitment to sustainability, the new Kia EV9 features an interior that is adorned with BTX-free paints almost throughout, except for the door window switch panel, which is coated with bio paint.
9. Recycled PET yarn
Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) again demonstrates its versatility, with the yarn used for certain cabin applications in Kia’s models made from 100 per cent recycled PET bottles.
More than 70 recycled PET bottles are used across all of the recycled PET items found in the new Kia EV9.
Among its many applications, the recycled PET yarn takes center stage in the seat stitching, adding an extra layer of sustainability to the EV9's interior design.
10. Recycled PET felt
Felt made with recycled PET bottles is both soft and durable, key qualities when used in an environment which can be used to transport everything from luggage to pets.
PET has the added benefit of offering good acoustic absorption, reducing the transmission of sound from the rear of the car to the rest of the cabin and helping to maintain a driving experience that feels as good as it looks.
Recycled PET felt can be found on the luggage board of the new Kia EV9.