This week at the LA Auto Show one of the most interesting displays can be found in the basement, off the beaten path created by manufacturers like Honda, Toyota, and Ferrari. In their booth, automotive supplier Faurecia showed off their most eco-friendly options, from seats all the way down to exhaust systems.
Faurecia does not build cars. However, they are an integral part of the industry and have a lot to offer in the quest for greener cars. Faurecia's philosophy is that by designing lighter, more compact components they not only reduce fuel costs and carbon emissions, but allow for more efficient overall vehicle design.
To get a taste of what Faurecia does, I will take you through the design of the seat you see pictured. In designing this seat, their greenest, Faurecia has replaced the traditional metal frame and foam-based seat with a molded, supportive back that uses innovative cushioning to reduce the thickness of the seat up to 50%. This design reduces the use of environmentally unfriendly materials like foam, but also frees up over 16 liters of space in the car.
This means that smaller cars can have more leg room or that bigger cars and be made slightly smaller without reducing comfort, but while dramatically reducing weight and fuel usage. A pair of Faurecia's front seats reduce vehicle weight 5 kg and really up the green-quotient of any car equipped with them. However, you won't see these seats in many cars yet. Even though Faurecia supplies nearly every manufacturer, these seats are more expensive than traditional seats and it will take time for the industry to shift to dramatically more efficient interior components.
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