Kia has just revealed a pair of new electric concept cars that are as much about materials as they are about design. The Kia EV3 and EV4 preview the company's upcoming electric models and showcase new sustainable materials including natural dyes and mushroom root.
The Kia EV3 (the green one) and Kia EV4 (the gold-ish one) concepts show a design that is a natural step forward from the EV6 and EV9. Blocky but not too square, they're easily identifiable as electric Kia models. The EV4 bridges the gap between coupe and SUV, which comes with the promise of more range.
Look inside through the EV3's rear-hinged doors and pillarless cabin, and you'll find some cool details. The seats are constructed from a sustainable natural fibre material to deliver a stronger and thinner seat, which Kia says allows the team to design more modern-appearing seats. The seat covers are made with a new 3D knit technology that produces a soft cover with a cooling effect. Plus, it has less stitching, fewer joins, and zero waste.
The EV3's centre console table was grown instead of manufactured. Kia used mycelium, a fibre-like fungus that you may find growing in rotten tree trunks. Kia's head of Colour, Materials, and Finish, Marília Biill, said it "combines excellent strength with an extremely soft surface." The company said that bio-fabrication is a major goal for the company.
"Using mycelium enables us to mimic the processes we see in nature and leverage it to design more sustainable solutions – the material can be grown in any shape you want using a mold," said Biill.
Inside the EV4 concept, Kia took natural dyes made from rose madder and walnut shells and applied them to 100 per cent recycled cotton. Fabric strips woven into the storage area and the dashboard add to the car's unique interior, and Kia used hemp fibre for the centre console.
While these materials are still in development, Kia has introduced 10 "must-have sustainable items" it is using in all new model lines. These include bioplastics, recycled plastics, bio polyurethanes, fabrics and yarns made from recycled plastics, and other ways to build cars while consuming fewer resources.
Kia has not revealed possible powertrain or range information for these models, saying that these concept cars are an opportunity for the brand to get buyers ready for its new designs and showcase those new cabin materials.