In a collaborative partnership with Coca-Cola, Ford announced that it will unveil a Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid with interior fabrics made from the plant-based recyclable materials found in the soft drink company’s beverage bottles.
Comprised of 30 percent plant-based materials, the fabric is used on Ford Fusion Energi seat backs, seat cushions, door panel inserts, head restraints, and headliners. It is the first time that the material has been used for any purpose other than packaging, which speaks to the potential for its application in a variety of industries.
Coca-Cola has been using plant-based plastics in its bottles since 2009.
“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, reducing the overall environmental impact of future vehicles,” said John Viera, Ford’s global director of sustainability and vehicle environmental matters.
The production 2013 Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid already uses a fair amount of recycled plastic material in cloth-seat models, sound-absorbing denim in the car’s carpet liner, and use of soybean foam in seat cushions. Since Ford first started using soybean foam in 2007, the material has spread to all North American Ford vehicles, and reduced petroleum use by over 5 million pounds, as well as lessening annual carbon dioxide emissions by 20 million pounds.
According to Ford, if this new plant-based fabric were to be implemented across most of U.S. lineup, it could potentially save the equivalent of 295,000 gallons of gasoline and 6,000 barrels of oil by displacing the almost 4 million pounds of petroleum-sourced material currently being used.
It makes sense that the Ford Fusion Energi was the guinea pig for this collaboration, given its green image. The plug-in hybrid can travel an estimated 21 miles on electric energy alone, and it can travel roughly 620 miles with a fully charged battery and full tank of gas.
For a closer look at the Ford Fusion Energi’s plant-based fabric interior and green trim, check out the gallery below. To see it in person, head to the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show, which runs from November 22 through December 1.