Designer Vision to use plant based ‘leather’ in electric vehicles for a more sustainable alternative.

Renowned car designer Vicki von Holzhausen has a vision to make electric vehicles more environmentally friendly by using plant based ‘leather’. She is the founder of a material innovation company that specializes in creating plant based materials. These include a vegan leather made from bamboo and banana based materials. She has recently expanded the company reach into the car sector.

Since its establishment in 2015 in Malibu, California, the company has gained recognition for its hand bags, backpacks, and accessories made from plant based materials. Over time, it has diversified its customer base to include the fashion, furniture, and aerospace industries. The latest phase of her growth with a current focus on making a foray into the auto business. Von Holzhausen mentioned in an interview that the company is working with various vehicle makers. The first plant based materials from her company are expected to be incorporated into production vehicles from multiple manufacturers within the next few years.

Car Makers Slow to Respond:

Despite the slow response from well known automakers, leading electric vehicle companies Tesla and Fisker have already offered non leather options in their vehicles. Proving that there is a demand for sustainable and cruelty free materials. Fisker acknowledged the enthusiasm of customers for vegan vehicle interior options and the positive impact on branding. The company’s emphasis on providing ethical material choices aligns with the values of their customer base.

A unique initiative introduced by von Holzhausen’s company is the Banbu, a biodegradable vegan material made from bamboo fibers. This material was showcased in a customized Tesla Model S Plaid by a partner Unplugged Performance. Unplugged Performance has also started taking orders for guilt free vegan leather interiors made from Banbu for various Tesla models. Currently they are including the Model S, Model Y, and Model 3.

Ties to Tesla:

It’s noteworthy to mention that von Holzhausen’s ties to Tesla run deeper as her husband, Franz, heads the design division at Tesla. However, she emphasized that her firm does not engage in direct business dealings with Tesla. In a compelling partnership with Volkswagen’s Spanish affiliate Seat, von Holzhausen showed the Cupra Dark Rebel concept fitted with the same bamboo based material at the Munich auto show in September.

The company is continuing to push the boundaries of sustainable materials. Von Holzhausen’s company introduced Replant, a farm to fabric material using plant fibers recycled from agricultural waste, specifically, bananas. This innovative approach reflects the company’s commitment to looking for new avenues for eco friendly materials while reducing agricultural waste.

Having grown up in Pasadena and pursued her education at ArtCenter College of Design, von Holzhausen’s background places her among the ranks of leading car stylists in the industry. She gained experience at Audi and held positions at the advanced concept studios of Mercedes-Benz and General Motors before venturing into entrepreneurship.

Wider Applications of their Products:

Von Holzhausen firmly believes in the wide applicability of her brands products in vehicles, extending the plant based ‘leather’ beyond seating to components. These include items such as steering wheels, instrument panels, and consoles. With a forward looking perspective, she sees numerous opportunities to change parts from traditional plastic to plant based materials. Indicating the potential for widespread use in the industry.

Commenting on the automotive industry’s reluctance to embrace sustainable materials. Von Holzhausen emphasized that consumers have surpassed companies in demanding eco friendly alternatives. She expressed the urgency of transitioning from conventional practices to more sustainable methods. Highlighting the need for the industry to keep pace with evolving consumer preferences.

Finally, if you want to find out more about these products you can visit the company Finien website. Here you can find details of products available.

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