Continental’s Benova Eco Protect material named Automotive News PACE Award finalist 

Continental is among 34 finalists for the 2023 Automotive News PACE Award. Winners will be announced at the Automotive News PACE Awards ceremony in early 2024.

The innovative surface material was created intentionally to provide high durability, soft feel, and exceptional high value appeal while having a low Product Carbon Footprint.

Technology company Continental’s innovative premium surface material for vehicle interiors, Benova Eco Protect, has been named a finalist in the 2023 Automotive News PACE Awards. The product moves the industry forward through its originality, implementation, and effectiveness – making vehicle interiors more sustainable, durable, and comfortable.

“It is very exciting that the Benova Eco Protect has been recognized as a PACE finalist,” said Jeffery Bradshaw, Head of Segment Automotive Interior, Americas. “We are particularly proud of the resilient five-plus year journey that it took to get here. After some unforeseen challenges with Covid-19 and personnel changes, we were able to create a product that is changing the landscape of interior materials for vehicles. Thankfully, we can proudly say that we have successfully overcome every challenge to realize Benova Eco Protect today.”

On the road to sustainable vehicle interiors, Benova Eco Protect marks an important milestone in product development, eliminating solvent-based raw materials for the production by use of purely water based polymeric feedstock. The product is based on polyurethane as the premium polymeric matrix, with a well-established multilayer construction coated on a basic textile. By consistently avoiding any critical ingredients plasticizers and solvents, the material is also particularly low in emissions and odors and has a low Product Carbon Footprint. Benova Eco Protect has also recently been certified and is allowed to wear the label PETA-Approved Vegan (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals).

However, the product does not sacrifice durability in the name of sustainability. Due to its excellent heat and UV resistance, the long-lasting material withstands special environmental influences in the vehicle compartment. Even after more than 10 weeks at 248°F (120°C), the material remains stable, whereas other products’ decomposition starts after two to three weeks.

Comparatively to its competitors, the Benova Eco Protect is one of a kind with its lightweight, sleek design. Offering a weight advantage of 20 percent compared to standard upholstery materials, consumers will no longer have to choose between style and comfort. Now even lighter colors can be used for high-profile applications.

“No matter the color, light or dark, or the location, whether on the instrument panel, door panel, side or center console, seat cover or headrest – the upholstery material has a soft feel and exceptional value appeal combined with outstanding aging and light resistance,” said Bradshaw. “We are confident this innovative surface solution will serve as the basis for future sustainable surface materials.”

Continental is among 34 finalists for the 2023 Automotive News PACE Award. Winners will be announced at the Automotive News PACE Awards ceremony in early 2024. The 29-year-old program recognizes innovations driven by automotive suppliers in recognition of technological innovations across the globe. 

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