When it comes to going green, car companies aren’t only swapping out internal combustion for electrification. It’s a comprehensive movement and one that takes more than just a couple of electric motors to fix. So some brands have even resorted to using recycled materials to upholster their interiors. BMW made the trend famous with the i3 and Tesla followed suit. Now, the next-gen 2020 Audi A3 will get seats made from water bottles.
In Audi A3 models with fabric seats, the material used to upholster the inner part of the seat will be made from recycled PET (polyethylene terephthalate), sourced from plastic water bottles. The process, in a nutshell, requires melting down plastic bottles and then essentially shredding the plastic down into fine threads that then make up the seat fabric. This process creates a fabric that both looks and feels like a standard seat but is far more environmentally-friendly.
The entire seat won’t be made from the stuff, though. Only certain layers of the inner sections of the seat will be made from recycled plastics.
“The lower layer of woven material, which is connected to the upper material with adhesive, is what poses the challenge. We are working on replacing this with recyclable polyester,” says Ute Grönheim, who is in charge of material development in the textiles division at Audi. “It is our goal to make the seat upholstery completely from unmixed material so that it can be recycled again. We are no longer very far away from this.” In the long term, all seat upholstery across all model series will be made of recycled material.
This recycled plastic material isn’t only going to be used in its seats, though. The Audi A3 will get carpets, a trunk floor, some trim and even insulating materials made from recycled water bottles.
In total, about 100 bottles of water will be incorporated into the cabin of the 2020 A3. Mind you, only three different interior designs will get such materials, with leather and other materials making up the rest. There will be a few different color schemes with it as well, such as “Torsion” light grey with yellow stitching, and an S-Line scheme with a black/silver color combo and grey stitching.
So, outside of e-tron models, the 2020 Audi A3 will be the brand’s most sustainable vehicle and it seems that more and more Audis will follow its lead.