Mushrooms can be tasty to eat, a trip to consume and also make for a twist on the cause of a zombie invasion for a certain video game and TV series.
South Korean automaker Kia thinks mushrooms also are a great source for car interiors.
During an EV Day event near Seoul earlier this month, the automaker showed its planned affordable electric vehicles, noting that it intends to do away with leather and seek out bio-based and recycled alternative materials, including mycelium mushroom root, hemp and flax fibers in green composites.
A console table in Kia's EV3 and EV4 concepts would use hemp and mushroom root, with company executives telling Hans Greimel from our sister paper Automotive News that the part is "grown, rather than manufactured."
Pigments for the interior materials in the EV4 could come from walnut shells, Kia said.
In addition to the bio-based fillers, Kia is looking at using more recycled plastics. Like a lot of automakers, it already is aware of the potential for post-consumer PET, but it also is evaluating mixed plastics collected from marine debris.
Last summer, Kia received 55 tons of plastic from the Ocean Cleanup, a Netherlands-based company that operates vessels to collect trash from waterways around the world. Kia is assessing how those plastics can be recycled and used in vehicles. Its goal is to repurpose the material in components starting in 2026, helping offset the 440 pounds of plastic currently used in the average Kia vehicle