When people talk about the conversion of the car industry to eco-sustainable mobility, you immediately think of the race for electrification that is stimulating all the Car Makers. But if the automotive sector really wants to reach a low environmental impact, it has to re-calibrate to the new standards from every point of view. Some interesting new ideas along these lines came out of the Geneva Motor Show.
For example, Rinspeed, a Swiss company that has always actively tried to find new solutions by creating prototypes, showed the results of its new partnership with Lenzing, an Austrian company that has been operative in the textiles and woodworking sector since 1938. What they put on show was the microSNAP concept (a workshop-vehicle already announced at the CES in Las Vegas), together with other dummies exploring alternative solutions on specific aspects.
“At Rinspeed we have always paid a lot of attention to new technologies and the opportunities they offer”, Frank Rinderknecht, the Swiss company’s CEO, explained to us. Lenzing produces “green” fabrics that make a brilliant replacement for the leather or synthetic fibres on interior trims.” “We make the threads from wood,” added Dieter Eichinger, Managing Director of Lenzing. The wood is made with methods that do not involve deforestation, because of the land rotation and the cutting scheduling. We can produce a number of different types of fabrics, which are not only ecological, but also highly resistant and show excellent breathability and heat dissipating properties.”
“We have recognised the automotive sector as a business opportunity and started to work with some of the styling centres”, explained Bernard Philipp Alowonou, who deals with the search for new business areas at Lenzing. We let the designers feel our products with their own hands: that was our winning move. What they noticed was a completely different tactile as well as visual sensation. We can provide very fine, silky threads and others with thicker fibres, but just as soft. There are various joint operations ongoing, which will soon lead to some production models. But it’s still too early to talk about that. Let’s say that after our first presence here at Geneva, we’ll bring some great new ideas to the show in 2020.”