Each year Rinspeed can be depended upon to create one of the more unusual, innovative and thoughtful concept cars on display. The Switzerland-based think-tank has long excelled at reimagining future mobility in a way that much of the car industry does not. This year, its founder and CEO Frank M. Rinderknecht wanted to create a car as a mobile lounge, and came up with the Oasis concept, a compact autonomous two seater city car with a modern and comfortable interior – complete with a 'garden plot' behind the windscreen.
“It’s no secret that leading experts forecast an automotive future where car interiors are becoming the heart of the car,” Rinderknecht says. “As people are spending a lot of time in their cars, this inspired us to come up with the idea of a ‘third living space of the future’, which ultimately led to the Rinspeed Oasis.”
With a view to featuring the most innovative solutions and materials possible, Rinspeed approached leather and synthetic surfaces expert Stahl, following their successful partnership on last year’s Σtos concept. The collaboration created an opportunity for Stahl to develop new material solutions and showcase some of their advanced innovations in this future-proof concept, launched at CES, the consumer electronics and technology tradeshow in Las Vegas in January 2017.
“As a car interior material surfaces expert and worldwide market leader in our field, we are inspired by working together with leading brands,” says Stefan Buri, Stahl global marketing director automotive. “The interior of the Rinspeed Oasis concept car is all about innovative and sustainable solutions that inspire and surprise the user. With the interior of the Oasis we did what we do best: pushing the boundaries for achieving better end-products, and helping to create a better future.”
Stahl used its next-generation technology in the Oasis to develop special surface materials for its seats, door trims, dashboard and steering wheel, making progress towards creating a low-VOC car interior. The leather used inside the car was tanned with a technology called Stahl EasyWhite Tan™ which is not only metal-free, but more sustainable when it comes to water usage, energy and chemicals. Stahl EasyWhite Tan™ also creates a longer-lasting and more versatile interior leather. When used, the leather becomes highly elastic, making it flexible and tear-resistant, and enabling it to become thinner and lighter.
The materials in the Oasis are given a more premium feel by various sustainable material solutions. Stahl's bio-based Green PolyMatte® finishing creates warm and tactile matt surfaces. This innovative solution is based on rapeseed oil rather than crude oil-derived intermediates, made even more ecological by the fact that the rapeseed is sourced locally, reducing the transportation time for the raw material.
The Oasis interior features pure white leathers. The pale yet vibrant surface is made long-lasting and protected from stains and ingrained dirt by the company’s leading Stay Clean coating technology. This surface protection allowed Rinspeed to create a truly ‘snow white’ high-performance cover material for the automotive industry.
Stahl was also behind the special crystal effect (colour: mystic jungle) for the glittering interior surface material. The resulting leather has a sparkling surface which changes according to the ambient light and the angle from which it is viewed.
The partnership with Rinspeed is one of several being fostered by Stahl, which has created an ‘Automotive Centre of Excellence’ at its headquarters in Waalwijk in the Netherlands: one of several global Centres of Excellence where it invites forward-looking OEMs, Tier One suppliers and partners to share ideas and knowledge to further a sustainable future for automotive interiors.