Ford Motor Co. and Coca-Cola Co. have partnered to outfit a Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid sedan with fabric using the same plant-based and renewable material featured in the soft drink maker's PET bottles.
Utilizing technology introduced by Coca-Cola in 2009, Ford was able to create the first-ever automotive fabrics that are 30 percent plant material.
The new polyester fabric was used on the seat cushions, seat backs, head restraints, door panel inserts and headliners.
It marks the first time the material is being used beyond packaging used by the beverage giant.
"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," John Viera, director of sustainability at Ford, said in a statement.
Using plant-based materials to create fabrics helps to reduce the amount of petroleum needed in the production of traditional automotive interior materials. Ford said if the plant-based interior materials were used in a majority of vehicles in the United States, it would save the equivalent of 295,000 gallons of gasoline and 6,000 barrels of oil.
The addition of plant-based fabrics in the Fusion Energi is the latest step by Ford to embrace eco-friendly materials in the plug-in hybrid. Current Fusion Energi vehicles utilize enough denim in the carpet to produce two pairs of blue jeans and available cloth seat options utilize recycled plastic from 38.9 plastic bottles, Ford said.
The Ford Fusion Energi vehicle outfitted with the PlantBottle Technology fabric will be on display at the 2013 Los Angeles auto show.