Bamboo and Tequila Coming Soon to a Ford Truck Near You

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Bamboo isn’t just for Pandas anymore. Ford wants to build stronger interior panels with it.

When you think about bamboo you probably think about things like huts, rafts, and panda bear snacks. As it turns out, the magical wood is good for much more than just building structures and feeding furry animals. Bamboo is one of the world’s strongest natural materials, and it grows exceptionally fast, as much as three feet in one day under the right conditions. In addition, it’s very flexible and very much in abundance throughout Asia.

While Ford continues to invest in the research of synthetic and natural non-traditional materials, they’ve also been studying the viability of creating interior parts out of bamboo. So far, they’ve discovered that mixing the wonder wood with plastic makes parts incredibly strong. In fact, bamboo rivals and even beats some metals in terms of tensile strength.

The use of alternative materials in automotive construction is nothing new to Ford, as they’ve already begun using recycled and sustainable materials in a variety of vehicles. The F-150 for example, uses electrical harnesses with reinforced plastic made from rice hulls. Ford’s best selling truck also uses parts made from recycled plastic bottles, repurposed nylon carpeting, and soy-based foam. Heck, they’re even transforming carbon dioxide into plastic, as you can see in this video.

But perhaps the most interesting (and entertaining) use of spent materials comes from everyone’s favorite elixir — tequila. Ford has recently partnered up with Jose Cuervo to explore the idea of using the spirit maker’s spent agave byproduct to develop bioplastics. We’re sure those meetings are a lot of fun and probably involve more than a little “product testing.”

All of these initiatives aren’t only benefiting Ford and consumers, they’re also benefiting the world around us. Plus, it gives us some nice ammunition for the next great truck brand debate. As if we really needed one…

Chime in with your thoughts on the forum. >>

Brett Foote is a longtime contributor to Internet Brands’ Auto sites, including Chevrolet Forum, Rennlist, and Ford Truck Enthusiasts, among other sites.

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