Ford has unveiled a Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid research vehicle that uses fabric made using Coca-Cola’s PlantBottle Technology for seat cushions, seat backs, head restraints, door panel inserts and headliners. The car will be on display starting next week at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
Coca-Cola says fabric made using this technology consists of up to 30 percent plant-based materials and shows the potential for renewable materials to help replace petroleum and other fossil fuels traditionally used for PET fabric.
Using Coca-Cola’s expertise, Ford has been able to produce the first-ever fiber that can be woven into durable, automotive-grade PET fabric from PlantBottle material.
The two companies say the research vehicle marks the first time PlantBottle Technology is applied beyond packaging, with the two corporations aiming to develop new products produced from renewable materials.
Both Coca-Cola and Ford use PET, a durable, lightweight plastic also known as polyethylene terephthalate, in a variety of products including plastic bottles, fabrics and carpets. Ford says that if all its U.S. models used PlantBottle interior fabrics, nearly 4 million pounds of petroleum-derived materials would be eliminated, saving the equivalent of 295,000 gallons of gasoline and 6,000 barrels of oil.
Ford already uses renewable materials for its Fusion sedans, from sound-absorbing denim material equivalent to more than two average-sized pairs of blue jeans in the car’s carpet liner, to material equivalent to 38.9 clear-plastic 16-ounce recycled bottles in select cloth-seat Fusion models and the equivalent of about 31,250 soybeans in the foam found in Fusion seat cushions.
By Dan Mihalascu