At China’s largest automobile trade fair, the Shanghai Auto, Volkswagen recently presented its new e-mobility model ID. ROOMZZ, featuring vegan leather seat covers. As a zero-emission SUV in the five-metre class, it is intended to be an all-round model suited to family and business needs. The series version will be launched in China in 2021.
The seat covers were made using AppleSkin. This is a material whose production uses, among other things, apple pulp – a waste product of apple juice production. This saves the equivalent of 50% of one cow’s skin per every seat.
According to the company, the aim is to use this or a similar material more extensively. The possibilities for this are currently being investigated, as the material has to withstand a wide variety of external factors such as abrasion, light, heat, cold, and more. In general, the developers and designers of the automotive group are also on the lookout for innovative materials. Sustainable resources are increasingly at the forefront. Additionally, there are plans to offer vegan versions of more models.
French designer Philippe Starck recently announced that he had designed a furniture collection with apple core leather upholstery in collaboration with the Italian company Frumat, and luxurious bags from a Berlin fashion label have also been produced using the same material. Overall, the market for vegan leather alternatives is expected to grow rapidly, and innovative new leather-like materials are being developed on a regular basis, such as those made from pineapple or mushroom fibres, or created in the laboratory using microorganisms.