Renault has co-developed a new seat fabric made entirely from recycled materials for the refreshed Zoe electric hatchback.

The French car manufacturer has teamed up with a spinning mill and an automotive seat supplier in southern France to kick-start a project called ‘àfiler’, which means ‘to thread’. The companies, called Filatures du Parc and Adient Fabrics, are collaborating to design a unique textile made exclusively from recycled materials.

Together, the firms have created a patented textile made from recycled safety belts, textile scraps and plastic bottle recycling, which will be used in the new Renault Zoe. According to Renault, this new short-loop manufacturing process reduces the carbon footprint by 60 percent compared with the production of standard seats.

Renault Recycled Seat Upholstery

Despite this, Renault says the material can still be produced in sufficient quantities to create eight square metres of upholstery for the Zoe. As a result, it can form dashboard coverings, gear lever brackets and door fittings, as well as covering the seats. Renault also claims the fabric meets its requirements for comfort, cleaning, UV resistance and durability.

“Faced with the challenge of the energy transition, industries have an essential role to play in changing their production methods and reducing their environmental impact,” said Jean-Philippe Hermine, the director of environmental strategy and planning for Groupe Renault. “With the support of our partners Filatures du Parc and Adient Fabrics, we are demonstrating that it is possible to implement circular and competitive development models focused on resources, while acquiring a valuable competitive advantage at a time when the availability and cost of raw materials are becoming a real strategic issue. This approach contributes to the group's commitment to reduce the environmental impacts of each vehicle throughout its life cycle and to reduce its global carbon footprint by 25 percent in 2022 compared to 2010.”

Renault Recycled Seat Upholstery

Mathias Daynie, the director of the Adient Fabrics plant in Laroque d'Olmes, in south-west France, pointed out that recycled fabrics were “the future” and other textiles were also in the pipeline.

"The development of fabrics made from short-loop recycled products, such as the one designed for New ZOE, is undeniably the future of our business,” he said. “The prospects are very important both in the automotive industry and in other sectors of activity that will certainly follow this approach from an environmental, ethical and economic point of view.

“Our Laroque d'Olmes site, both a production plant and an R&D centre of excellence, with 60 years of experience since its creation in 1955 and 20 years dedicated exclusively to the automotive industry, is particularly invested in high value-added products for the future, in collaboration with its partners. In addition to its traditional or eco-designed fabrics for the automotive industry, the site is studying other innovative textile solutions that could open up new markets to support its customers in their technical and environmental ambitions.”

Gallery: Renault recycled seat upholstery