FRIBOURG, Switzerland—Volvo Cars is using ampliTex flax fiber composites from Swiss company Bcomp to make optional trim for the dashboard and doors of the new EX30 compact electric SUV. It is the first production vehicle to use the new, lightweight material.
While Bcomp’s natural fiber composites have been used in motorsport applications, such as Formula 1, Formula E, and SuperFormula for several years, the Volvo EX30 is the first production vehicle to use the material. Drivers can choose from four distinct interior designs for the vehicle, two of which—“Pine” and “Mist”—employ ampliTex trim panels.
The collaboration follows Volvo’s investment in Bcomp last year. Bcomp had worked with Volvo Cars previously, in 2018, for the Volvo Ocean Race Recycled Plastics Demonstrator Vehicle. This was followed by the Concept Recharge in 2021, which demonstrated the future direction that Volvo Cars would take in developing all-electric cars. It included extensive use of Bcomp composites in both the interior and exterior, from storage areas to bumpers and sills. Volvo Cars aims to sell solely all-electric cars by 2030 and to achieve climate neutrality by 2040.
Made from flax fibers grown in Europe, ampliTex is a lightweight, high-performance technical fabric. Available as dry fiber or natural fiber prepreg, the material can be used to make thermoplastic or thermoset composite parts. Optimized for lightweight reinforcement, the fabrics are available in different weaves—biaxial, twills and unidirectional—with little or no crimp and twist. The material’s properties include high radio transparency, vibration damping and resistance to ultraviolet radiation.
Structures made from AmpliTex provide maximal stiffness at minimal weight. For example, when used for automotive interior panels, the material can cut weight by up to 50 percent and reduce plastic consumption by up to 70 percent.
“This is a milestone moment for Bcomp,” says Christian Fischer, CEO and co-founder of Bcomp. “We are all incredibly proud to see ampliTex composites in the new Volvo EX30. We have had the pleasure to work closely with Volvo Cars for a long time, sharing the same vision for sustainable mobility and the potential for bio-based materials to contribute to a circular future. This is the first step of our plan to scale into the large-scale mobility industry and continue our mission to help our customers decarbonize their supply chains.”