Since the 2009 model year, any new Ford seat fabric has been required to contain at least 25 percent recycled content. Some vehicles, such as the Fusion Hybrid SE, already have fabrics made from 100 percent recycled material. Fender splash shields and other underbody components in every 2013 Ford Fusion use plastic made from recycled car battery casings. Materials for this model are also derived from recycled plastic bottles, blue jeans, and soybeans. (Source: Ford)
A new compression molding compound material combines the light weight, strength, and rigidity of carbon fibers with the flexibility and lower cost of glass materials in a composite compatible with automotive production.
Plastic bearings are real and millions of them are in use doing heavy-duty jobs we used to think only metals could do. Some of Germany-based igus's bearings are traveling around the world as functional parts in a car to demonstrate what they can do.
Baxter showed off his 2.0-derived moves at ATX West this year. The big red guy still looks pretty much the same, but has some new abilities, mostly due to software. The research robot version is now being used in corporate R&D departments as a design platform.
End-production using 3D printing, including objects made of multiple materials in one pass, is getting closer to reality as we saw on the exhibit floor at the recent Pacific Design & Manufacturing Show.