The Coca-Cola Company and Ford Motor Company are fueling more sustainable design by collaborating on a first-ever interior fabric made from the same renewable material used to produce Coca-Cola's PlantBottle Technology™ packaging.
The two companies today unveiled 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. 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 collaboration also demonstrates the positive influence that comes from combining two of the most recognizable and respected brands in the world. The Cola-Cola Company and Ford Motor Company together reach billions of consumers in more than 200 countries on six continents.
The Ford Fusion Energi research vehicle will be on display later this month at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
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. 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.
"The Coca-Cola Company and Ford Motor Company partnership is a great example of how collaborations can help scale up positive changes to benefit the environment," said Erin Simon, manager, business and industry, packaging and material science, World Wildlife Fund. "This atypical partnership is a great model for other businesses to follow, and can have a measurable impact on critical environmental issues."
Building upon the success of PlantBottle Technology, Ford has been able to produce the first-ever fiber that can be woven into durable, automotive-grade PET fabric from PlantBottle material. Fusion Energi, a plug-in hybrid version of Ford's global midsize car, was determined to be the perfect vehicle on which to test out the material.
Fusion Energi is Ford's most fuel-efficient sedan. It boasts an EPA-rated total range of up to 620 miles and can drive up to 21 miles in electric-only mode – which could help save customers an estimated $6,850 in fuel costs compared with an average new car over the course of five years. It offers the latest generation of SmartGauge® with EcoGuide, designed to monitor and influence driving behavior to improve vehicle efficiency and help drivers get the most from their car.
PlantBottle Technology material integration builds on the current 2014 Ford Fusion's environmental innovations – innovations that showcase a variety of more sustainable materials throughout the car, including:
- Sound-absorbing denim material equivalent to more than two average-sized pairs of blue jeans in the car's carpet liner
- Material equivalent to 38.9 clear-plastic 16-ounce recycled bottles in select cloth-seat Fusion models
- About 31,250 soybeans in the foam found in Fusion seat cushions. Today, Ford uses soy foam in every vehicle built in North America. 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