Korean automaker Kia has revealed that the company’s new Soul EV (electric vehicle), which will have its world premiere at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show starting later this week (February 8-17), has achieved UL (Underwriter Laboratoires) Environment validation for bio-based organic carbon content for ten per cent of its interior materials. UL Environment describes itself as a global independent safety science company.
It will not just be the absence of tailpipe emissions that will make the Soul EV a greener choice; it uses various bio-materials including bio-degradable plastic, bio-foam and bio-fabric in its interior. The interior of Kia’s Soul EV includes various new materials such bio-based plastic and anti-bacterial substances. Moreover, Kia has used five newly developed eco-friendly materials, including cellulose-based plastic and thermoplastic elastomer fabric.
Unlike previous plastic materials that are based from oils, bio-based materials are derived from biomass, which is a photosynthate. Such modern biochemical technologies have replaced the majority of the existing chemistry industry by offering an alternative through development of new bio-materials.
In order to receive the UL Environment claim validation, Kia went through a “meticulous document review” of the applied internal materials and onsite inspections of Kia’s manufacturing sites. UL Environment granted the validation to the Kia Soul EV for containing bio-based plastic of 23.942 kg and bio-based organic carbon content of ten per cent.
This achievement for the Kia Soul EV reflects the trend of the electric car transitioning from its original criteria of fuel efficiency and carbon emission to consideration of its entire product life cycle, which covers manufacturing, distribution and end-of-life recycling.
“We are proud that our Kia Soul EV has achieved both the auto industry’s and the world’s first UL Environmental claim validation for its bio-based organic carbon content for ten per cent of its interior materials,” explained Jong-Dae Lim, Vice President of Material Development Center of Hyundai-Kia R&D Center, Namyang, South Korea. “We will continue our efforts to develop cutting-edge products that satisfy not only the evolving market, but also customer needs.”
Last year Kia experienced dramatic qualitative improvement to the brand. Kia Motors entered the ranks of the world’s top 100 global brands according to Interbrand’s Top 100 Best Global Brands list, debuting in 87th place with brand value of US$ 4.1 billion.