Cars of the future: Could fruit be the new plastic?

Cars of the future: Could fruit be the new plastic?

According to a report from CNN.com, scientists in Brazil say they have discovered a way to incorporate fruit fibers into strong, lightweight plastics to be used for car parts. Their research indicates that plastics made from the fibers of fruits like bananas and pineapples are 30 percent lighter and three to four times stronger.

If true, then cars of the future would be stronger and more fuel efficient, making it easier for manufacturers in the U.S. to meet the demand for higher fleet-wide CAFE standards (or corporate average fuel economy) and EPA regulations.

Researchers in the U.K. have also been studying the use of fruit in plastics for cars. A recent Metro article stated that while coconuts and pineapples are making their way into bumpers and dashboards, it won’t be long before the fruity fibers hit showrooms in car exteriors.

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Email

Next Post:
Previous Post:
This article was written by

Melanie Batenchuk founded Be Car Chic in 2009 as a way to help consumers make smart decisions when buying and selling their cars. Her prior work at the dealership, trade association and manufacturer levels has provided her a deep understanding of the complex facets within the auto industry, making her a leading woman in her field.

There are 4 comments for this article
  1. beltranaboutcars at 3:42 PM

    I am all pro using more natural and recyclable raw material for vehicles! As long as it is used as a main trend, not only as a PR smoke bomb this sound awesome!My main questions: will this use make Bananas the next Corn? Let me expand this, Corn is a commodity that went to the roof when we wanted to use it as fuel for vehicles. Bananas may suffer the same fate if they are used as raw material? After all Bananas are the item that Wal-Mart sells the most worldwide…In the following years we will listen about companies trying to increase their “Natural Capital” (the stock of natural ecosystems that yields a flow of valuable ecosystem goods or services into the future), and this is a way of increasing their “Stocks” of natural capital.I had commented a similar trend from Mercedes Benz http://beltranaboutcars.wordpress.com/2010/09/29/mercedes-fills-headrests-with-coconut-fiber/

  2. Melanie Batenchuk at 4:01 PM

    Carlos – Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I also wondered if bananas and pineapples would become the next “ethanol.” But after giving it some extra thought, I don’t believe that we would be faces with the same dilemmas because the fibers would come from the parts of the fruit that we don’t use/eat – think banana peels and coconut shells.I would say that this is very different from re-purposing hundreds of acres of corn fields (removing a percentage of a product in high demand) to be used for ethanol production. I believe that this method would not remove fruit from the market but rather create a new way to use fruit waste. But like you said, we won’t know until it becomes more mainstream.

  3. Joshua at 12:16 AM

    I wrote on this very topic myself today, and it was great to see your view on it Melanie. Cheers 8-P, cars2scrap

  4. Melanie Batenchuk at 2:45 PM

    Hi Joshua – thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. I read your post and think it will be interesting to see how manufacturers manage the increasing incorporation of technology in vehicles without passing too much of the costs down to the consumer. Also, equally important, is how they’ll manage to add more gadgets into vehicles without creating too many distractions for the driver. I’ll be blogging more about that particular topic soon, so stay tuned!