Ford Motor Co. and Coca-Cola Co. are collaborating to outfit a Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid sedan with fabric made of the same plant-based and renewable material found in the beverage maker’s bottles. Using Coca-Cola’s technology, Ford managed to create the first-ever automotive fabrics that are made of 30 percent plant material.
The new fabric was used on the seat cushions, seat backs, head restraints, door panel inserts and headliners. This will be the first time that the material is used for purposes other than packaging. Coca-Cola introduced the trademarked PlantBottle Technology to market in 2009, making the beverage firm the first to produce a bottle partially made up of plant materials.
This technology replaced polyethylene terephthalate, which a petroleum-based polymer used in plastic bottles as well as fabrics and carpets.
John Viera, director of sustainability at Ford, said in a statement, that by using PlantBottle Technology in a plug-in hybrid, Ford and Coca-Cola are showing the “broad potential to leverage renewable materials” that help replace petroleum and other fossil fuels, thereby trimming the overall environmental impact of future vehicles.
According to Ford, if the plant-based interior materials were used in a majority of vehicles in the United States, it would save an equivalent of 295,000 gallons of gasoline and 6,000 barrels of oil.
The move was the latest step by Ford to embrace eco-friendly materials in the Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid. According to the carmaker, current Fusion Energi vehicles use enough denim in the carpet to produce two pairs of blue jeans while cloth seat options use recycled plastic from 38.9 plastic bottles.