As early as the middle 20th century, bio-fiber began to be used in car interiors, when the major products at that time were made of non-woven fabrics. Later, bio-fiber was also ushered in some non-load-bearing or sub-load-bearing structures for interiors. The vehicle industry in Germany consumed about 180,000 tons of bio-fibers in the year 2005. The average consumption of every car was about 16kg.
Worldwide Application of Bio-Fiber Panels
The engine bonnet of the Ford Focus car is made of hemp fiber reinforced polypropylene (PP), which is 30% lighter than the glass fiber composites. The Mercedes-Benz S-Class series uses 32 parts made of bio-fiber, with a total weight of up to 24.6 kg.
Many car manufacturers in Japan introduce fully degradable bio-fiber-reinforced poly-lactic (PLA) composites to produce car parts. For example, Toyota uses kenaf fiber-reinforced PLA to make spare wheel covers and car mats on the “Raum” model. The center console and interior panels of the “Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid” manufactured by Mazda are also made of plant fiber. The same sample can be also found in the roof parts of the fuel cell car “FCX Clarity” of Honda.