New Recycling-Based Material Tested In Fusion Energi Plug-In Hybrid

In order to find new sustainable materials, Ford has produced a test vehicle using fabric made out of Coca-Cola’s PlantBottle Technology material.

The Coca-Cola Company and Ford Motor Company unveiled Nov. 15 a Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid vehicle with Coca-Cola PlantBottle Technology interior fabric surfaces covering seat cushions, seat backs, head restraints, door panel inserts and headliners.

Ford said the research vehicle marks the first time PlantBottle Technology is applied beyond packaging, and affirms a joint commitment by two global consumer icons to develop innovative new products produced from renewable materials.

“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, global director of sustainability and vehicle environmental matters at Ford.

The Ford Fusion Energi research vehicle will be on display later this month at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Ford explained the idea behind the vehicle was launched last year when Ford and Coca-Cola research teams came together to explore innovation opportunities in more sustainable products. Both companies use PET, a durable, lightweight plastic also known as polyethylene terephthalate, in a variety of products including plastic bottles, fabrics and carpets. This provided a natural opportunity to bring together both recyclable and renewable technologies.

Since The Coca-Cola Company introduced PlantBottle Technology to the market in 2009 as the first-ever recyclable PET plastic bottle made partially from plants, more than 18 billion PlantBottle packages have been distributed in 28 countries resulting in more than 400,000 barrels of oil saved.

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Ford said if PlantBottle interior fabrics were migrated across the majority of U.S. Ford models, it would displace nearly 4 million pounds of petroleum-derived materials, as well as save the equivalent of 295,000 gallons of gasoline and 6,000 barrels of oil.

“This collaboration with Ford demonstrates that PlantBottle Technology can be applied anywhere PET plastic is traditionally used, but with a lighter footprint on the planet,” said Scott Vitters, general manager, PlantBottle packaging platform, The Coca-Cola Company. “We are pleased to share this technology with Ford, and look forward to continuing to expand the application of PlantBottle Technology.”

The PlantBottle-Fusion Energi initiative is also encouraged by the World Wildlife Fund, which advises companies to look for alternatives to fossil fuels.

This PlantBottle Technology material integration is not the first renewable material to be incorporated in the Fusion; the vehicle uses sound-absorbing denim material equivalent to more than two average-sized pairs of blue jeans in the car’s carpet liner; the equivalent of 38.9 clear-plastic 16-ounce recycled bottles is used in select cloth-seat Fusion models; and about 31,250 soybeans are used in the foam found in Fusion seat cushions.

Today, Ford said it uses soy foam in every vehicle built in North America. The company said since its first application in 2007, the use of soy foam by Ford has reduced petroleum production by more than 5 million pounds and carbon dioxide emissions by 20 million pounds annually.