The rise of electric cars will bring forward a number of questions. Is it enough to make cars with no tailpipe emissions in order to actually make a change? Should we look at the entire car-making process instead? A number of companies are starting to look in other areas as well and you will notice that some of them are dropping certain materials from their options list, such as leather upholstery, for example. That’s where a company like Natural Fiber Welding might come in handy.

MINI has already announced that it will no longer offer leather upholstery on certain models and other car brands are moving towards the same direction, looking for better alternatives. One of them could be MIRUM, the invention of Natural Fiber Welding. MIRUM is a durable, all-natural and fully recyclable leather alternative that’s about to go into commercial roll-to-roll production. To that end, BMW invested in the company through its BMW i Ventures arm.

“Natural Fiber Welding has developed an innovative process of converting plants into all-natural, 100% recyclable material that mimic all the properties of traditional leather, yarns and foams. Having a scalable, cost-competitive alternative to leather with premium qualities is key to further advancing the decarbonization of the automotive industry”, said Kasper Sage, managing partner at BMW i Ventures.

NFW is pioneering how all-natural materials can be commercially viable alternatives for animal- or petrochemical-based products. However, the investment is just part of the plans BMW has with the US-based company. The two want to form a strategic partnership over the long run.

Using recyclable materials is one of the goals BMW will be chasing in the following years, to drop CO2 emissions in the production chain as well. Using this fundraiser, NFW plans to scale its production to full commercial capacity and capitalize on its existing momentum to bring its alternative material to the market.