How cool can a driver's seat headrest be? How about cool enough to charge your iPod while you drive? Or maybe the real cool feature is that a new, thinner headrest could, along with other lightweight interior parts from Faurecia, could shave 130 pounds off of a vehicle's weight. That is, if Faurecia's technologies are implemented in full by the target date of 2020.
Faurecia displayed some of its "clean" technologies at the LA Auto Show this week, including a lightweight and very thin seat (above, introduced earlier this year), a premium wood fiber called ligneos, and the aforementioned thin headrests. One way Faurecia makes the items smaller and lighter is by using biomaterials and natural fibers in the ligneos, ligneco, and lignolight products. In thin headrest prototype, the design drawing show that the back could have a light, coat hanger or iPod charger installed. While these sorts of things aren't being used in production vehicles yet, Faurecia says that "16 of the 20 most fuel efficient vehicles on the world market" already make significant use of the company's products.
Faurecia Advances 'Clean' Approach for the Next Generation of Vehicles at the 2009 LA Auto Show
Faurecia plans to remove up to 130 pounds from a vehicle's weight by 2020, use more natural fibers and other biomaterials, reduce emissions and improve fuel savings
LOS ANGELES, Dec. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Beyond "green," "sustainable" and "renewable," Faurecia believes the next step in environmental responsibility is "Clean." The eighth largest automotive supplier in the world and third in Europe, Faurecia (http://www.faurecialaautoshow.com/) is taking further steps to make next-generation vehicles lighter, less polluting and exceptionally clean through advances in seating, vehicle interiors, front ends and emissions control technologies.
On Dec. 2 and 3 at the LA Auto Show (South Hall, Upper Level Lobby of the Los Angeles Convention Center), Faurecia is showcasing Faurecia Clean, a selection of its products and innovations focused on enabling automakers to take a cleaner and lighter approach to vehicle technology. A news conference on Faurecia Clean will be held Dec. 3 at 1 p.m. PST in room 515 immediately preceding the Design Los Angeles Newsweek roundtable.
The practice of enabling Clean is inherent in Faurecia's approach to innovation. As early as the 1970s, Faurecia's predecessor companies were incorporating lightweight and recycled materials in designs and production. In 2008, Faurecia introduced "Light Attitude," a collection of products that enabled a vehicle weight savings of 66 pounds. Today, Faurecia is a significant contributor to 16 of the 20 most fuel efficient vehicles on the world market(1).
In one year, Faurecia innovation teams have doubled the weight savings they anticipate Faurecia products can achieve for automakers. Faurecia expects to remove up to 130 pounds from a new vehicle's weight by 2020, use more natural fibers and other biomaterials inside the vehicle, trap pollutants before they escape, and re-circulate thermal energy for fuel savings. Through these market developments and Faurecia's recently announced agreement(2) (November 2009) to acquire EMCON Technologies - an integrator of emissions control technologies for passenger and commercial vehicles - Faurecia is positioning itself to contribute significantly to Clean vehicles while reducing emissions and fuel consumption.
Since Faurecia's products account for 15 to 20 percent of a vehicle's weight, the global automotive supplier has both a responsibility and a commitment to lighten vehicles, improve mileage and reduce pollution for the benefit of:
-- Customers, the automakers that purchase Faurecia products and rely on Faurecia to help differentiate their brands;
-- Consumers, who ultimately decide which vehicles meet their evolving needs, and who benefit from Faurecia's efforts to make products safer, more comfortable, reliable, attractive, convenient and sustainable; and
-- Citizens, who share the planet and our communities and who depend on manufacturers to shrink their environmental footprint through emissions control, eco-design and minimizing noise.
"With stricter CAFE(3) requirements coming quickly, automakers will be forced to drastically reduce the weight and emissions of their vehicles without compromising safety, comfort or quality," said Mike Heneka, president of Faurecia North America. "These trends and others are driving automakers to partner with suppliers that can accelerate cost-effective, innovative product development.
"Volatile gas prices and environmental issues are moving automakers toward vehicles and products that are more eco-friendly," said Dana Lowell, director of advanced business development for Faurecia North America. "With our Clean approach to vehicle technology, Faurecia is well-positioned to address these market challenges through our understanding of customers on a local and global scale; our long-term expertise in lightweight and emissions control technologies; and our dedication to ongoing, yet cost-conscious, innovation."
From ultra-thin seats to ultra-flat mufflers, from instrument panels fashioned from wood fibers to front-end systems protected by honeycombed aluminum, Faurecia products add space, comfort and safety to vehicles while lightening the burdens of fuel consumption. A few products and innovations on display at the Faurecia L.A. Auto Show exhibit include:
-- Seating: Faurecia's Sustainable Comfort Seat concept is dramatically thinner and lighter than conventional automotive seats, and incorporates several innovative features that enhance occupant comfort.
-- Interiors: Natural fiber solutions, including Lignolight technology, a Faurecia innovation that includes a mixture of 70 percent wood fiber and 30 percent plastic resin to create door-panel substrates that are 40 percent less dense than conventional panels.
-- Front ends: A single front-end carrier can serve several vehicle models. The Faurecia front end module reduces the weight of the overall system by 5 to 10 percent by using plastic in modular construction that eliminates many clips and fasteners. It incorporates Faurecia's mEasy technology, ensuring optimal alignment of the headlamps with the bumper, as well as superior fit and finish.
-- Emissions control technologies: Faurecia's maniverter offers a compact design for optimal packaging, reduced weight and cost, and improved emissions light-off. Another innovation by Faurecia, the Exhaust Heat Recovery System, reuses heat from the exhaust system to warm the vehicle interior up to 25 percent faster. It also helps to warm vehicle engines more quickly, reducing pollutants and improving fuel economy.
Visit the Faurecia booth at the LA Auto Show to get a firsthand look at these innovations and other Faurecia products. Or visit http://www.faurecialaautoshow.com/ to download the press kit and images of Faurecia's products.
About Faurecia (http://www.faurecia.com/)
Faurecia is a world-leading automotive supplier, specializing in four major activities: seats, vehicle interiors, front ends and emissions control technologies. In 2008, the Group posted sales of $17.6 billion. The company is headquartered in Nanterre, France with North American headquarters in Auburn Hills, Mich. It operates in 29 countries at 190 sites and 28 R&D centers. Faurecia is listed on the NYSE Euronext Paris stock exchange. For more information, visit www.faurecia.com.
Our travel and lodging for this media event were paid for by the Auto Alliance.