Check Out Kia's 10 Must-Have Sustainability Items in the All-Electric EV9 SUV

Kia EV9 Interior 16 photos
Photo: Kia
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Nowadays, automakers have a common goal: to make the automotive industry more sustainable – this is usually done via a clearly defined strategy. For instance, Kia is implementing its Design Sustainability Strategy, which involves eliminating the use of leather and developing and integrating new bio-based materials. The company has recently revealed more details regarding its "10 must-have sustainability items".
These items represent a baseline for using sustainable models in Kia's upcoming models. These eco-friendly initiatives are familiar to the company. Kia started with bioplastics and sugar cane bio-fiber in the 2014 Soul EV. It's currently using plant-based components, recycled PETs, and discarded fishing nets to manufacture its fabrics and carpets.

Kia aims to become carbon neutral across its operation by 2045. In this regard, it has revealed more information regarding its Design Sustainability Strategy, intending to achieve sustainability at scale across all new model lines.

As I mentioned earlier, the first step was to phase out the use of leather in all new vehicles. The first of Kia's models to showcase Kia's shift to more sustainability is the new EV9. Let's look at the ten must-have sustainability items in the EV9.

Kia EV9 Front And Rear
Photo: Kia

1. Bioplastic

Bioplastics are an innovative type of plastic produced from various renewable biomass sources, such as sugar cane, sawdust, vegetable oils, and corn extract. Using bioplastic translates into less reliance on fossil fuels, and automakers can also benefit from more diverse sources and minimize exposure to unwanted chemicals. Moreover, it's a versatile and durable solution that can be utilized in different components of the car's interior. In the EV9, you'll discover that the dashboard, console, pillars, and garnishes are all made from bio-plastic.

2. Post-consumer material (PCM) plastic

PCM plastic is made using recycled material – the advantages are obvious: plastic is repurposed instead of ending up in landfills and polluting the environment. Moreover, non-renewable resources are conserved, as in some cases when PLC plastic can be used instead. In Kia's case, the EV9 is fitted with door garnishes made from PCM plastic.

3. Bio PU

Of course, removing leather from Kia's products would only be possible by finding a proper replacement. The company's solution is Bio Polyurethane (Bio PU) – the material can incorporate plant-based components and minimize overall carbon emissions. But, most importantly, it turns out that Bio PU is a comfortable seating solution, providing proper support, cushioning, and durability, as well as a soft and breathable feel. Consequently, the EV9's seats and interior covering are made from Bio PU.

Kia EV9 Interior
Photo: Kia

4. Bio PU Foam

Another way Kia is integrating polyurethane is in the form of foam. Kia's Bio PU foam offers the suppleness and resilience of standard polyurethane with less environmental impact. The material's durability and compression characteristics make it an excellent choice for cushioning – it can be found in the headrests of the EV9.

5. Recycled PET fabric

Most people probably think about PET plastic when it comes to recycling - it's one of the most easily recycled plastics in the world. The material boasts good resistance to impact, solvents, and moisture. That's why Kia integrated it in several areas of the EV9's interior, such as the sun visor, headliner, headrests, seats, and garnish. To be specific, each EV9 incorporates at least 70 recycled bottles.

6. Recycled PET carpet

100% recycled PET is used to develop Kia's standard carpets. Moreover, the automaker offers the option of part of this material from recycled fishing nets. Why is this important? Around 640,000 tons of fishing gear end up in the ocean each year, severely impacting the ecosystem.

Kia's 10 Must\-Have Sustainability Items \- Recycled Fishing Nets
Photo: Kia

7. Bio paint

Kia's bio paint is produced utilizing rapeseed oil, a vegetable oil made from rapeseed, often used in food, biofuel, cosmetics, and more. The Kia EV9 has bio paint on the door switch panels.

8. BTX-free paint

BTX represents "benzene, toluene, and xylene," a combo used in the creation of everything from drugs to glue and paint. It's associated with harmful environmental effects, so Kia wanted to adopt an eco-friendlier option: BTX-free paints. They offer the same high-quality protection and finish. The new Kia EV9's interior is coated with BTX-free paint, besides the door window switch panels, which use bio paint.

9. Recycled PET yarn

The recycled PET is yet again showing its wide range of uses – Kia's models use its yarn for certain cabin applications. For example, seat stitching uses recycled PET yarn.

10. Recycled PET felt

Although you probably wouldn't expect it, felt made with recycled PET bottles turn out to be both durable and soft. Furthermore, it provides good acoustic absorption, separating sounds from the car's rear to the rest of the cabin. In the EV9, you'll find recycled PET felt on the luggage board.

Last month, Kia showcased its "Opposites United" design exhibition at the Milan Design Week, illustrating the company's shift toward more sustainable mobility. With an ambitious goal of carbon neutrality by 2045, Kia will surely integrate more eco-friendly materials into its vehicles.
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About the author: Mircea Mazuru
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Starting out with a motorcycle permit just because he could get one two years earlier than a driver's license, Mircea keeps his passion for bikes (motor or no motor) alive to this day. His lifelong dream is to build his own custom camper van.
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