Starring at the NIO seeds event in Shanghai, Ultrasuede shows how vital materials are in realising a carbon-neutral society

Car Design News has partnered with Ultrasuede to highlight the importance of plant-based, recyclable materials and their use in auto industry.

Sustainability and luxuriousness are two central themes that consistently play key roles in the design of car interiors. New cars hitting the market today must use materials of the highest quality to achieve the desired effect. Not content on simply cladding one or two surfaces of the IP in a quality material, NIO is pushing the boundaries in its ET7 thanks to the use of Ultrasuede. A new variant of the material is being developed for the pillars and ceiling of the ET7. It matches the rest of the interior, which according to the company is a “further interpretation of the second living room concept.”

Everything inside the electric sedan has been chosen with a clear goal in mind – to make the inside of the ET7 a relaxing and comfortable space with a slick, modern aesthetic. As a result, the use of Ultrasuede works in tandem with other sustainable materials like the Karuun renewable rattan. Ultrasuede is also featured inside the NIO EC6 SUV to provide an enhanced level of detail and refinement.

Toray started commercial production of its non-woven material with a suede texture, Ultrasuede, for the first time in the world in 2015. The company strives to help realise a carbon-neutral society by employing a chemical recycling system as well as by sourcing its raw materials from plant-based polymers. This provides the advantages of stable supply, reliable quality, and traceability.

As well as supplying material for its cars, Ultrasuede is also working with NIO to share knowledge on biomaterials and their benefits. During the Shanghai Auto Show in April 2021, Mr. Kawada, general manager of the advanced fibers materials division, and Huang Jiamao who works for the textile department of Ultrasuede, were both invited to speak at NIO seeds.

Born in March 2016, seeds is an internal speech platform for NIO employees that focuses on embracing the future with smart technology, initiating discussions on the diverse lifestyles. Speakers from various walks of life deliver speeches, which are live-streamed on the NIO App. Some previous speakers include Alvin Roth, the winner of 2012 Nobel Prize in Economics, Dr. Roland Berger, the founder of Roland Berger GmbH, Dr. Ellen Hughes-Cromwick, the former Chief Economist of the White House, Minhong Yu, the founder of New Oriental, Ziyu Zhuang, a young and vigorous architect, Bike “Bonnie” Chen, a multitalented supermodel, and Lu Zhang, a senior soccer commentator.