This is likely the only instance where alcohol and cars mix well.
Tequila, it’s not just for meant for making your family reunions bearable, it can also be used to make car parts, and that’s exactly what Ford is looking to do in order to green its cars. From Jalisco, Mexico to Dearborn, Michigan, Ford is now in the process of entering a partnership with Jose Cuervo to experiment with the possibility of using the agave fibers left over from tequila production as a replacement for some of the plastic components in Ford’s cars.
If the two companies are successful, it means that less petroleum and natural gas would be needed to manufacture the plastics used in components like cup holders and fuse boxes. The resulting product is lighter than plastic, 400 pounds of which makes its way into the average car. Reducing weight here makes a car lighter and more efficient, furthering the utility of the fiber. It may seem like a perfect way to mix alcohol and cars with a positive result, but the experimental bio plastic has a ways to go before we see it in the next generation Mustang. That’s because the materials inside of cars must be robust, retaining the ability to remain functional under extreme temperatures over long periods of time.
Ford’s engineers are currently testing the material for use as a replacement for HVAC components and wiring harnesses, but due to the low-strength nature of agave-derived plastic, it cannot be used to replace structural components or those that must be designed for high-stress situations. When it comes to supply, it doesn’t seem like Ford will encounter any problems the way its rival did. The fermentation plants process a lot of agave, about 200-300 tons of it per day, giving Ford plenty of material to work with. As the automotive industry shifts to more environmentally friendly practices by using natural materials, it’s nice to see the advantages of this make their way to improving the car’s handling dynamics. That’s something we can all drink to.
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