Forget traditional materials.
Jaguar Land Rover is doing its best to keep up in a fast-changing world. Aside from moving towards electrified powertrains, the UK-based premium automaker has just committed itself to yet another way to be more environmentally friendly. JLR has announced that future vehicles will all feature floor mats and trims made from something called Econyl. Never heard of it?
Econyl is regenerated nylon made by Aquafil, a company in the synthetic fibers industry. This same material is also currently being used to create straps for luxury watches, handbags, backpacks, sportswear, and other high-end items. Soon, it'll also be used for seat textiles and floor carpeting in JLR models.
Instead of using traditional fabrics, Econyl is a fiber made from recycled industrial plastic, leftover fabric from clothing manufacturers, and even fishing nets. In fact, there's even a term for abandoned ocean fishing nets: "ghost nets."
Every year, Aquafil recycles upwards of 40,000 tons of waste. Recycling it reduces the global warming impact of nylon by 90 percent compared to the nylon produced from oil. For every 10,000 tons of Econyl produced, 70,000 barrels of crude oil are saved. What's more, the equivalent of 65,100 tons of carbon emissions is eliminated. Converting what was once considered to be outright garbage into something useful, such as vehicle interiors, requires a high-tech process that involves treatment in a chemical plant and broken down into raw material. It is then turned into yarn, aka Econyl.
During that treatment process, non-nylon byproducts like metals and copper sulfate are removed and sent for recycling elsewhere. Econyl, a nylon polymer, even has the same chemical and performance characteristics as raw fossil material, so there'll be no sacrifice in quality.
"Our designers and engineers are committed to developing the next generation of sustainable materials that will feature on future Jaguar and Land Rover models," said JLR senior interior systems engineer Adrian Iles. "This pioneering materials research is one of the key ways we'll achieve this and is an integral part of our design offering to our customers." JLR also promises customers will continue to experience the "same luxurious feel" as traditional interiors.
Currently, the Jaguar I-Pace, Range Rover Evoque, and Range Rover can be optioned with something called Kvadrat, a material that combines wool with suede cloth made from 53 recycled plastic bottles per vehicle. Still not "green" enough for you? A Eucalyptus textile interior is also optional on the I-Pace and Evoque.