Vegan vehicles: BMW to offer completely animal-free interiors in 2023

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In Germany, BMW Group will shortly launch its first vehicles with completely vegan interiors. 

Available for both BMW and MINI models by next year, the animal-free claim includes the steering wheel, a feature with demanding feel, appearance, and wear-resistance criteria.  BMW says the new steering wheel surface material reduces CO2e emissions along the value chain by around 85% compared to leather and will help it deliver on its pledge to reach climate neutrality by 2050 at the latest. 

“Replacing raw materials of animal origin makes a significant contribution to increasing sustainability in vehicle production,” BMW Group says in a press statement. “The introduction of a new surface material for steering wheels will see the proportion of vehicle components that contain traces of raw materials of animal origin fall to less than one percent in the respective BMW and MINI vehicles. As a result, these materials will now only be found in areas that are not visible to the customer, for example in various waxy substances such as gelatine used in protective coatings, lanolin in paints, tallow as an additive in elastomers and beeswax as a flux for paints.”

Materials to be used in the vegan vehicles include MirumTM, which is made from upcycled cotton and waste fibers, and DeserttexTM, which uses pulverized cactus fibers with a biobased polyurethane matrix.