Audi interior: use of sustainable and ecological materials

When you need to produce a car, it is no longer enough to create a quality and performing product. Attention must also be paid to other factors such as the optimization of processes, the sustainability of what is done and things of this type. Audi aims for a complete decarbonisation of the production cycle within three years. By 2025, the House of the Four Rings will complete the carbon neutral conversion of all plants. This is an objective already achieved at the factories in Brussels, Belgium, Győr, Hungary, and at the Böllinger Höfe site of excellence, in Germany, keeping all levels of the supply chain under control (the management of the production chain ): from the origin of raw materials to production, from the phases of use to the end of life, paying particular attention to the recycling and reuse of components. The latter form the basis of the German manufacturer’s sustainable approach to exclusivity, whose maximum expression is today represented by the use of secondary or biological materials for the construction of the car interiorsranging from compact sedans to the Audi A8 flagship up to the futuristic concepts of the Sphere series.

E-tron GT interior – Photo credits: Audi

Recycled yarn seats for the Audi A3 Sportback

The fourth generation of the Audi A3 Sportback has stood out since its debut in June 2020 for its sporty design, the extremely technological interior and for being the first model in Audi history to adopt coatings made from the recycling of PET bottles. PET is a plastic polymer that can be separated from the other materials it is combined with. This feature favors its recovery and therefore its reuse. In the case of the Audi A3, two different fabric seat covers are available, with a percentage of recycled yarn up to 89%, destined to grow to 100% in the near future. The technological challenge is represented by the overlapping of the layers, with the lower one bound to the upper one by means of an adhesive. Audi is committed to replacing this last layer with recycled polyester, so as to create fully recycled and recyclable single-material coatings, to be extended to the entire range.

Audi Q4: seat covers made from plastic bottles

The sustainability of the compact Audi models was further emphasized by the Q4 e-tron and Q4 Sportback e-tronintroduced in June and October 2021 respectively. Both SUVs use multiple components made from recycled materials, including wheel arch frames and shells, floor linings and aerodynamic spoilers at the wheels.. Overall, 27 components consist of a significant percentage of secondary materials. In the future, additional plastic elements from chemical recycling will be added.

In the passenger compartment, the recycled materials are mainly destined for soundproofing and anti-vibration coatings. The interior packages allow you to choose between leather finishes or to opt for the combination of imitation leather and Dinamica microfibre. The latter visually and to the touch resembles suede, but is made for 45% using recycled polyester obtained from PET bottles. The material obtained from the reuse can count on the same qualitative, aesthetic and tactile standards of the classic fabric. 26 1.5-liter plastic bottles are recycled for the seat upholstery of the Audi Q4 e-tron. For the Audi A3 you need 45 bottles.

Urbansphere interior - Photo credits: Audi
Urbansphere interior – Photo credits: Audi

Audi e-tron GT cruetly free interior

The Audi e-tron GT opting for the leather free package on request adopts a cruelty free approach, giving up animal leather upholstery in favor of combinations of imitation leather and Kaskade fabric or imitation leather and Dinamica microfibre. In both cases, recycled materials are used, primarily polyester fibers obtained from plastic bottles.

The Kaskade fabric, whose seams evoke the look of the single frame, specifically recalls natural fibers such as wool. No less avant-garde is the construction of the floor carpet and floor mats in Econyl, a fiber obtained from the polyamide of used fishing nets.

Audi Sphere interior in wool and natural fibers

The cruelty free approach inaugurated by the Audi e-tron GT is shared by the Audi Skysphere, Grandsphere and Urbansphere concepts which anticipate the style of the German manufacturer’s future models and constitute the first expression of a revolution in the definition of design. At first the characteristics of the space surrounding the occupants are defined, identified as the “sphere” of their needs, and only later are the shapes of the bodywork. This is a strategy favored by technical solutions such as level 4 autonomous driving, electric propulsion and the “digital detox” trend: neither the instrumentation indicators nor the classic touch displays are visible in favor of cleaning the briar surfaces, wool and natural fibers.

Photo credits: Audi
Photo credits: Audi

The Sphere concepts on the one hand renounce animal skin, on the other they project wooden coatings into a new dimension. Beech veneers, specifically, they come from organic crops or are obtained from recycling, while the Skysphere concept roadster uses ecologically certified eucalyptus wood. A large part of the materials used for the cockpit of the Urbansphere, such as the hornbeam wood panels, also come from organic farming. The hornbeam plant allows the use of the entire stem, without waste and chemical additives. At the same time, the seat pads are in Econyl, while bamboo is used for the armrests and the rear area of ​​the passenger compartmentwith faster growth than conventional wood and green cultivation, without the addition of herbicides and pesticides.

Audi interior: use of sustainable and ecological materials