With a greater range and more power, the New ZOE can also claim that it is more environmentally responsible. Fitted with a new fabric made from 100% recycled materials, it opens the way to new models of circular development for the automotive industry.
by Agathe Erol
Without a doubt, the New ZOE goes further. Europe’s leading electric car already included small amounts of recycled synthetic materials in its floor mats, but it is now using a new fabric for its seat covers, dashboard covering, gear lever console and door trims.
Everything is transformed
To be precise, this recycled fabric on which we rest our heads is made from textile waste from the automotive sector, seat belts and plastic bottles.
Seat belts being defibred in Filatures du Parc’s workshop
Textile craftsmanship in the service of a best-seller
The Group is using patented processes to produce a top-quality fibre from waste, in partnership with Filatures du Parc, the leader and expert in the field. At its workshops in the Tarn, this family undertaking is drawing on the traditional technique of carding yarn, which allows fabric to be produced without the need for chemical or thermal treatments. The yarn is then delivered to Adient Fabrics - supplier of 1 out of 3 automotive seats worldwide - for weaving in their factory at Laroque d’Olmes (Ariège).
Adient Fabric weaves the reconstituted yarn
This circular business model and the mechanical carding process result in a reduction of over 60% in the CO2 emissions associated with the production of this recycled yarn compared to standard manufacturing. And in face of the challenge that is the energy transition, it is a concrete demonstration of the Group’s commitment to develop our production methods by reducing our environmental footprint: “This approach contributes to the commitment made by the Group to reduce the environmental impacts of each vehicle throughout its lifecycle and to reduce its carbon footprint by 25% in 2022 when compared with 2010”, says Jean-Philippe Hermine, Groupe Renault VP, Strategic environmental planning.
Behind the scene of the manufacture of recycled fabrics for the New Renault ZOE
Focus on the industrial process:
Collection and supply: Renault Environment, the Groupe Renault subsidiary dedicated to the circular economy, is tasked with collecting used materials, such as scrap seat belts, to give them a second life, and waste from the production processes of new fabrics destined for the automotive sector.
Manufacturing recycled carded yarn: The Group entrusts the production of the yarn to Filatures du Parc, located in Brassac (Tarn). Thanks to the financial and technical support provided by the “àfiler” project, Filatures du Parc have developed a new industrial defibring line adapted to the strength of seat belts, an essential stage in the preparation of the raw materials and the optimisation of the length of the fibres.
Once cut and defibred, the fibres from the belts and cloth are combined with polyester fibres produced from plastic bottles to guarantee the cohesion of the fibres, before undergoing a series of carding operations. Derived from the old English term “carde” or teasel head, the traditional technique of carding uses a system of drums fitted with fine steel teeth and turning at high speed to produce a weavable yarn. This know-how needs no chemical or thermal process to untangle, divide, draw, parallelise and, lastly, twist the fibres that are now free from impurities.
This 100%-recycled yarn has been jointly patented with Filatures du Parc.
Weaving and production of the fabric prior to assembly: Adient Fabrics, the weaver and supplier of 1 in every 3 car seats in the world, receives the reconstituted yarn on bobbins at its Laroque d’Olmes site (Ariège), a mere 60 miles from Filatures, where the yarn is woven to produce fabric that will be used for vehicle upholstery and interior linings.