Volvo Concept Recharge full of sustainable materials

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In June, Volvo showed us the conceptual exterior of its future vision in a swoopy wagon-like package called the Concept Recharge. The Swedes are now ready to show us the vision's interior and tell us what it's made of, calling it "a manifesto for Volvo Cars' future." With the context being Volvo's aim of selling only EVs by 2030 and being carbon neutral by 2040, the battery-electric Concept Recharge is a way for the automaker to get there and look stylish while doing it. It starts and nearly ends with employing sustainable, recyclable materials everywhere.

Outside, the front and rear bumpers and the rocker panels are fashioned from flax composite. Only six percent of the materials in the specially developed Pirelli tires come from fossil resources, the rest from recycled and renewable materials like natural rubber, bio-silica, rayon and bio-resin. Every aspect of the bodywork has been shaped to increase aerodynamic efficiency, from the wheel design to the compact, upright rear end. Efficiency will also be a key development for the batteries. Volvo hasn't mentioned those yet in regard to the concept, but we know the company doesn't simply want to add more cells to increase range, since that adds weight and increases a vehicle's carbon footprint. Volvo is working with Swedish firm Northvolt on more energy-dense battery packs with shorter charging times.

Inside, the Concept Recharge takes an evolutionary leap from the sustainable cabin now available in the C40 Recharge. The seat backrest and top of the instrument panel are dressed in "responsibly sourced Swedish wool" woven into a breathable, additive-free cloth. The seat bolsters and door panels areas that will see a lot of contact are covered in Tencel, a soft-touch yet durable cellulose fiber product. The floor and lower doors are wrapped in 100% wool. The seatbacks, the fronts of the headrests, and part of the steering wheel are covered in a material Volvo developed called Nordico. The company's being secretive about the composition, only telling us that Nordico's been created out of recyclable ingredients found in sustainable forests. And flax composite shows up again inside in the storage pockets, the back of the headrest, and the footrests.

The automaker says that if the Concept Recharge's battery is charged using renewable energy, it would contribute less than 10 metric tons of CO2 over the wagon's lifespan. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said in June of this year that the average passenger car "emits about 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year." Pair that with carbon neutral manufacturing, and the Concept Recharge — or the vehicles it foreshadows — could do big favors for the Earth.

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