The all-new Ford Focus Electric will feature seat fabric made of recycled material that includes the equivalent of more than 20 plastic bottles per car.
Ford, through the use of REPREVE, plans to divert about 2 million post-consumer plastic bottles for use in the new Focus Electric and other new vehicles for the next model year.
The Focus Electric is the first Ford vehicle to have an interior made from 100 percent clean technology.
The fiber – called REPREVE – is made from a hybrid blend of recycled materials and manufactured by Unifi, Inc.
“We aimed to make the Focus Electric the most overall sustainable vehicle available to consumers, from using clean technology to overall vehicle efficiency,” says Carol Kordich, lead designer of Sustainable Materials for Ford.
Unifi officials say 22 plastic, 16-ounce water bottles are used in the seat fabric of a single Focus Electric. The figure is based on the amount of REPREVE branded fiber used in the production of fabric in each vehicle.
Ford is the first automaker to use REPREVE branded fiber in its seat fabric.
Ford and Unifi will help collect some of the bottles destined for Ford vehicles by recycling plastic bottles from the 2012 Detroit Auto Show and the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas on Jan. 10-13.
Using REPREVE also reduces energy consumption by offsetting the need to use newly refined crude oil for production. The technology meets all Ford design and comfort requirements to help ensure the Focus Electric and other vehicles meet the company’s high performance standards.
The Focus Electric, Ford’s first all-electric passenger car, started production in December 2011 at Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich. When full production is under way in March, the car’s seat fabric could contain plastic bottles collected at NAIAS or CES.
Ford’s “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle” commitment is part of the company’s broader global sustainability strategy to reduce its environmental footprint while at the same time accelerating the development of advanced, fuel-efficient vehicle technologies around the world.
Currently Ford vehicles are approximately 90 percent recyclable at end of life. By using recycled content in its vehicles and ensuring its parts are recyclable, Ford is leading the industry in recycling efforts. Ford’s goal is to have its vehicles be 100 percent recyclable.
In 2009, Ford mandated that fabric suppliers use a minimum of 25 percent recycled content for all 2009 and beyond model year vehicles. Since then, 37 different fabrics meeting the requirements have been developed and incorporated into Ford vehicles.
Examples include soy foam seat cushions and head restraints, wheat straw-filled plastic, castor oil foam in instrument panels, recycled resins for underbody systems, recycled yarns on seat covers and natural-fiber plastic for interior components.[wzslider height=”400″ lightbox=”true”]