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Design boss Gilles Vidal said cars must incorporate sustainable materials, even if it makes them more expensive to build

The use of recycled and recyclable materials in cars will come at a financial cost to manufacturers and consumers but must be done for the good of the planet, Renault head of design Gilles Vidal has said.

Talking at the launch of the Renault Scenic Vision concept – which showcases new interior design cues for all future models and a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain concept, as well as showing the exterior design of how 2024's Scenic will look – Vidal highlighted the fact that it is made using 70% recycled materials and of 95% recyclable materials.

However, he noted that there is a cost of designing sustainability into cars. He said: "It is a very difficult topic, as the manufacturers of the car interiors we know so well have spent decades optimising them for costs.

"That means that doing something different carries a cost and the reflex when confronted by that cost is to not go for it. We have had to confront that and decide we must go for it. If you want to become the best company in the world on sustainability, it is not a decision that can be anywhere other than front of mind."

Highlights of the sustainable materials used in the Scenic Vision include its floor, which is made of recycled, undyed plastics, and the seats, which with the exception of the headrests are made from a single, recyclable material, including in their stitching. However, Vidal highlighted that using recyclable material alone was not enough.

"Today, most cars are 95% recyclable, but that is not to say they are recycled," he said. "Through clever engineering and design, we can help make recycling faster and easier - and therefore provide a better incentive to profitability for the recycling to actually be undertaken."

Vidal also highlighted the role car makers could play in making the hardware in their vehicles upgradeable in future. "We need to get out of the mindset of integrating everything and get closer to something like Lego, where you can switch bits on and off the car," said Vidal.

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"We are brainstorming ideas on this, and the screens seem an obvious place to look. If they are not integrated but rather floating, maybe there is a way to make them changeable. We need to think on how to do this, or maybe to offer some trim or facelift options that can be fitted to change a car's look, keeping it fresh."

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Peter Cavellini 19 May 2022

 Make Cars better not more expensive,as we push towards EV power the cars aren't going to get Dacia cheap.

artill 19 May 2022

All very good making them recyclable, but wouldnt we be better off if they made them last longer! Even 10 year old cars can struggle to get replacement parts for some cars, and dodgy electrics that cost a fortune to find the fault and then fix send many cars to the scrappers far too young. If you want to make cars greener, make them last longer. Higher built in quality, and sensible priced replacement parts when needed. Perhaps historically not a Renault strong point, but thats where their efforts should be focused