Volvo Concept Recharge goes big on sustainability

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Labelled a manifesto for Volvo Cars’ future, the company’s pure electric Concept Recharge has given a window into its future design language and product strategy.

Volvo has tried to position itself at the head of the market when it comes to working with sustainable and natural materials in its cars, and it says the Concept Recharge is another example of its commitment to push forward with this ambition.

To this end, the interior design harnesses a variety of sustainable materials, both natural and recycled materials, such as responsibly sourced Swedish wool, environmentally friendly textiles and lightweight composites created from natural sources.

The Swedish wool is transformed into fully natural breathable cloth, free from additives. This warm and soft material is used in the seat backrest and instrument panel top. Meanwhile, the floor and lower doors are covered by a rich carpet of 100% wool.

The seat cushions and touch surfaces on the door are made from an environmentally responsible material that contains Tencel fibers produced from cellulose. This fabric has proved durable and yet is soft to the touch. By using Tencel fibers, which have been produced through a highly water- and energy-efficient process, Volvo designers are able to reduce the use of plastics in interior parts.

The seatbacks and headrests, as well as part of the steering wheel, use a new material created by Volvo called Nordico. This is a soft material made from bio-based and recycled ingredients sourced from sustainable forests in Sweden and Finland, providing a CO2 footprint that is 74% lower than leather.

Elsewhere in the interior, including in the lower storage areas, back of the headrest and the footrest, the Concept Recharge uses a flax composite, developed by Volvo in collaboration with suppliers. It uses fibers from the linseed plant, which are mixed with composites to provide a strong and lightweight, yet attractive and natural, aesthetic.

“With the Concept Recharge, we’ve created a comfortable and functional family space,” said Lisa Reeves, head of interior design at Volvo. “The cabin offers sophisticated forms through the use of natural materials and the harmonization of textures and tones, reflecting the timeless elegance of premium Scandinavian design.”

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he is responsible for content across UKI Media & Events' portfolio of websites while also writing for the company's print titles.

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