The environmental impact of a car is not just assessed by its emissions while driving. What also counts is the vehicle's entire production and the materials used to manufacture its main components.

One important point is certainly the passenger compartment, which is receiving more and more attention from manufacturers, not only in terms of design, but also in terms of the durability of the upholstery. Until a few years ago, this aspect was mainly the preserve of prototypes, but today it is also present in more recent models. Here are some of the greenest interiors.

From 3D printing to waste

Let's start with plastic, which is often indispensable to brands. The 3D printing adopted by Cupra uses recycled polymers from previous printing processes. The result is not only unique shapes, but also environmentally-friendly materials.

Cupra à la Semaine du design de Milan 2023

Intérieurs Cupra imprimés en 3D

Printing is also used for seat fabrics, reducing material waste and creating distinctive textures. The new materials adopted are also more sustainable, replacing natural leather with microfibres made mainly from recycled polyester.

And then there's the example of Callum, a design and engineering agency that has redesigned the interior of an old Porsche 911 using food waste. These materials, when properly combined with other elements, can offer the same qualities of strength and ductility as conventional cladding.

For example, eggshells and other waste materials such as expired rice, lentils and coffee beans have been used in the interior of the 911, replacing traditional dashboard plastics with innovative solutions.

Le matériau obtenu à partir de coquilles d'œufs

Les matériaux fabriqués à partir de coquilles d'œuf

Unusual elements, such as purple carrots, are used to add colour to the seats and other parts of the cabin, while recycled tree leaves create dark surfaces that can replace wooden inserts.

Volvos, meanwhile, use a material called Nordic for their leather interiors, made from recycled PET bottles, materials from sustainable forests in Sweden and Finland, and corks from the wine industry.

Bottles and corks

The Mazda MX-30 features a range of innovative and sustainable materials, from vegan leather and fibres made from recycled PET bottles to breathable cork.

Compared to rubber, cork is a more sustainable option, as this type of tree has a regenerative bark (meaning that once stripped of its outer shell, it fully reproduces its protective layer without suffering any negative side effects).

286568_C40_Recharge_Interior

Le tissu nordique du Volvo C40 Recharge

Finally, the Skoda Enyaq, the firm's first all-electric model, uses upholstery made from recycled plastic bottles. Strongly committed to sustainable development, the Design Selection Lodge trim uses no fewer than 318 polyester bottles for interior components such as floor mats, boot side panels and seat and dashboard coverings.

Numéro d'identification Volkswagen. Buzz

Volkswagen ID. Buzz, l'habitacle

Skoda Enyaq iV, les intérieurs en plastique recyclé

Skoda Enyaq, l'intérieur en plastique recyclé

Finally, staying within the Volkswagen Group, the interiors of the ID.3, ID.4, ID.5, ID.7 and ID. Buzz. All of Wolfsburg's electric cars use Seaqual fabric, made from 10% marine waste and 90% recycled fishing nets.

THE ID. Buzz is one of the 'greenest' models in the range, with 63 recycled 500 ml bottles used to line each cabin. What's more, the ceiling is made from recycled polyester, while recycled plastic is also used for certain parts of the underbody.