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Car Makers to Go Green Inside and Out

car driving through fields of green

Car Makers to Go Green Inside and Out


It was good news when GM announced the new Volt, a plug-in hybrid, that is scheduled to hit the streets in a few short years, but it was great news when Honda Motor Co.'s FCX Clarity hydrogen fuel cell-powered car used plant-based fabric for its interior. At the North American International Auto Show, Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz, highlighted that some of its vehicles were awarded an environmental certification for factors including components made from recycled materials.

Also at the show, “Johnson Controls Inc. showed off its new Ecobond headliner — part of the interior roof of vehicles — that uses soy-based material and natural fibers instead of the traditional fiberglass. The Ecobond — made from fibers including hemp and flax — also cuts vehicle weight.”

“Johnson Controls also sells a soy-based seat foam that it says will be used in 1.6 million vehicles a year for the 2008 model year. And Ford has a soy-based seat foam, which is on Ford's 2008 Mustang sports car, F-150 pickup and Expedition sport utility vehicle, as well as the Lincoln Navigator SUV. Ford says that most automakers use about 30 pounds of petroleum-based foam per vehicle, and producing soy foam uses less energy and reduces carbon dioxide emissions compared with manufacturing petroleum-based foam. The cost, Ford says, is about the same.”

Aside from the obvious reasons for voting down petroleum-based foams, there are also health benefits to using plant-based materials in car interiors—namely better indoor air quality.

Off-gassing is the release of volatile or hazardous chemicals from a material or product into the air. The process can take place over months or even years, and given that the interior of a car is a small and enclosed, toxic interiors are of particular concern. Some of the chemicals that are present in our cars are lead, bromine, and PVC and Phthalates, which are endocrine inhibitors. These same materials are used for infant, toddler and booster seats.

The Ecology Center of Ann Arbor, MI has a useful website, www.healthycar.org , that rates most recent models of cars and car seats according to their level of toxicity.

   

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Display 5 of 19 comments

go green

By: andrea smith () on 26-07-2012 10:37

go green

By: andrea smith on 26-07-2012 10:37

Cars are one of the great mixed bags of our time. They are at once wonders of engineering and a threat to life on Earth. They create convenience and comfort and also snarled traffic and sprawling suburbs. In the U.S. (according to Suspension Lift Kits), about 20 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions come from cars and light trucks like SUVs, contributing to climate change, air pollution, and disease.

 

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By: jamialovan () on 23-07-2012 03:33

Nice site

By: jamialovan on 23-07-2012 03:33

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Nicely captured info

By: jameshoplo () on 21-07-2012 03:08

Nicely captured info

By: jameshoplo on 21-07-2012 03:08

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it's about time!

By: larrylipton () on 02-07-2012 00:58

it's about time!

By: larrylipton on 02-07-2012 00:58

thanks for letting us know some good news for a change. keep us posted on Green progress, please! 
HP 45A Thanks!!

 

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Going Green

By: tommyk () on 22-06-2012 12:20

Going Green

By: tommyk on 22-06-2012 12:20

Great to see the car makers doing this! 
It's small steps that matter, let's keep them going in the right direction! 
MBJ limousine service 
Thanks!!

 

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