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Kia Revolutionizes Auto Interiors with Sustainable Solution

The Korean automaker collaborates with Bcomp to deploy flax fiber composites in Concept EV3 and Concept EV4 vehicles.

Stephen Moore

July 8, 2024

3 Min Read
Kia EV4 interior
Image courtesy of Bcomp

Decades ago, and prior to its acquisition by Hyundai in 1998, Kia was renowned for its low-cost, drab designs coupled with questionable safety and unreliability. In Korea, the automaker was sometimes dubbed, “Kid In Accident.” Come 2024, however, and the OEM is ranked among the top 10 most reliable car brands, and models such as the 2024 Sportage SUV, which was awarded five stars by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, rate highly in terms of safety features.

Kia is also advancing steadily on the sustainability highway, most recently via a collaboration with Swiss natural composite technology provider Bcomp in development of the Concept EV3 compact crossover and Concept EV4 sports sedan unveiled last year. 

Carbon-fiber performance sans carbon footprint.

Bcomp’s ampliTex is a sustainable technical fabric that has been used in an array of composite applications, from motorsport bodywork and interior Formula 1 seats to sports equipment and high-end furniture. It harnesses the properties of flax fibers to produce parts with similar stiffness and weight to carbon fiber while cutting CO2 emissions by up to 85% and offering more sustainable end-of-life solutions.

Kia-EV4-650.jpeg

The Kia team chose to use ampliTex throughout the interiors of the Concept EV3 and Concept EV4, embracing its unique natural aesthetic. Bcomp worked with the CMF (color, materials, finish) designers of Kia Europe Design Center to develop a custom color finish with nature-inspired tones and select an appropriate weave for the concept vehicles. This unique color of ampliTex is exclusive to Kia and was developed following a lengthy and detailed process to ensure it met the vision of Kia Europe’s designers.

Related:All-composite Cab Design 20% Lighter, More Aerodynamic Than Conventional Models

Flax fiber seat back shells, and more.

The Kia Concept EV3 features ampliTex in its seat back shell, center console table, and seat stands, while the Concept EV4 features ampliTex in its aesthetic stripe seat back, seat stands, and center console table.

Nicolas Samson, senior sales manager for automotive interiors at Bcomp, commented: “Working with Kia has been another immense move toward widespread adoption of Bcomp technologies in automotive interiors. Not only have we been able to showcase the natural aesthetic of ampliTex, but we’ve also demonstrated our commitment to developing unique and exclusive solutions for our OEM customers. This project is just the beginning of our collaboration, and we look forward to continuing our journey toward a more sustainable automotive future together with Kia.”

Marília Biill, head of CMF Design at Kia Corp., added: “The state-of-the-art interior materials employed in our Concept EV3 and Concept EV4 demonstrate Kia’s commitment to exploring scalable, sustainable solutions for future vehicle production. With an extensive history of use in performance applications, we were thrilled to incorporate innovative sustainable materials such as Bcomp’s flax fiber that reduce the vehicles’ environmental impact, deliver a lightweight and slimmer seat design, and afford unprecedented levels of color choice and trim finish for a modern aesthetic, [making] the Concept EV3 and Concept EV4 truly unique.”

About the Author(s)

Stephen Moore

Stephen has been with PlasticsToday and its preceding publications Modern Plastics and Injection Molding since 1992, throughout this time based in the Asia Pacific region, including stints in Japan, Australia, and his current location Singapore. His current beat focuses on automotive. Stephen is an avid folding bicycle rider, often taking his bike on overseas business trips, and a proud dachshund owner.

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