“We intend to reduce leather content in our cars and this will be a gradual transition,” a Volvo spokesperson said. “We are conscious that consumers increasingly want leather-free materials, due to concerns over animal welfare.” Currently, the company sources its raw hides from the beef industry.
The new leather-free electric cars are part of Volvo’s plans to become carbon neutral by 2040. In 2020, Volvo debuted the Polestar 2, its first fully electric leather-free vehicle. This week, the car company unveiled its newest electric model, the C40 Recharge, a crossover coupe SUV that also comes with leather-free interiors.
Volvo is not the first automotive company to move away from leather interiors. Last month, Oliver Heilmer, head of design at MINI, announced that the British car company is eliminating leather interiors from future models stating, “We don’t need leather any more in the future, because we don’t believe it’s sustainable.” Other carmakers, including Audi and BMW, have announced similar initiatives in recent years. Tesla—which has offered leather-free interiors since 2016—took it a step further in 2019 by removing the last remaining leather component from its steering wheel.