Plant-based upholstery replaces leather in new luxury cars

Leather has long been the material of choice for upholstery in luxury automobiles. But several carmakers are substituting it with plant-based materials in response to consumers' growing awareness of animal welfare.

Japan's Toyota Motor says its Lexus EV models will feature seats and steering wheels with upholstery made from sugarcane and other plants.

Toyota chief engineer Watanabe Takashi says that in the future, products associated with co-existence and sustainability will reflect a sense of luxury.

He says, "We tried to use sustainable materials as much as we could during the development process."

Swedish automaker Volvo says its vehicles will be completely leather-free by 2030. One of the new materials will be made from recycled wine corks.

Some BMW and Mercedes-Benz models have no leather inside. The German automakers are also doing research on leather alternatives of the future.