Ford gears up with electric car launch made from recycled bottles

Ford is set to launch what it claims will be the most sustainable car on the consumer market next month with its new Focus Electric vehicle, made with recycled plastic bottles.

The global car manufacturer says the initiative will divert around 2 million post-consumer plastic bottles from landfill in total, through the use of Repreve-based interior fabrics which contain recycled PET yarns.

Each Focus Electric car will contain on average 22 recycled PET bottles – Ford says it is the first of its vehicle to have an interior made from 100% clean technology.

The Repreve material, a blend of post-industrial fiber waste and post-consumer waste, has been developed by Ford supplier Unifi. Together the two companies will collect some of the bottles destined for Ford vehicles by recycling plastic bottles from two forthcoming motor shows taking place out in the US next week.

According to Unifi, Repreve also reduces energy consumption by offsetting the need to use newly refined crude oil for production. The company’s president Roger Berrier said that he hoped this recycling initiative with Ford will help raise visibility around the importance of recycling.

He added: “After decades of education, the United States PET bottle recycling rate is only at 29%, about half the rate of Europe.”

Ford’s lead designer of sustainable materials Carol Kordich said that the company aims to make the Focus Electric vehicle the most overall sustainable vehicle available to consumers.

“Ford is committed to delivering vehicles with leading fuel efficiency while targeting at least 25% clean technology in interior materials across our line-up,” she said.

This is not Ford’s first move towards the use of cleaner technology. Many of its vehicles include soy foam seat cushions and head rests, finished with recycled yarns on seat covers. Although 90% of a single vehicle is recyclable, Ford is looking to raise that to 100%.

Maxine Perella

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