BMW Group to launch fully vegan interiors from 2023

·2-min read

BMW Group has announced plans to launch its first vehicles with completely vegan interiors in 2023.

Set to be available for both BMW and Mini vehicles next year, the move has been made thanks to the development of ‘innovative materials with leather-like properties’ that can be used in high-traffic areas such as the steering wheel, which requires a high level of wear resistance with a premium appearance.

BMW materials
New vegan materials have been developed by BMW

BMW says that material choices play a ‘key role’ in reducing CO2 emissions over the lifecycle of a vehicle, with the development of a new surface material for steering wheels reducing CO2 emissions along the entire chain by around 85 per cent compared with leather. Previously, around 80 per cent of the emissions produced came from the methane gas emitted from cattle rearing.

The inclusion of the new materials for the steering wheel means that the proportion of raw materials from animal origins used in a car will fall to one per cent. The remaining materials will only be found in areas that aren’t visible to the driver, such as in the substances that contain gelatine and are used for protective coatings, or lanolin in paints.

Uwe Köhler, head of development body, exterior trim, interior at the BMW Group, said: “With a steering wheel made from a high-quality vegan surface material, we are fulfilling the wishes of our customers who do not want to make any compromises in terms of look, feel and functionality.

“The innovative material withstands wear and tear caused by abrasion, perspiration and moisture and has all the desirable properties of leather”

BMW says that it is ‘serving the demand’ for vegan and leather-free interiors and this could be set to expand in the near future onto other models.