Photo courtesy of Tesla, Inc.
The goal of Tesla is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy. In achieving this, the company strives, among other things, to reduce the carbon footprint of its cars as much as possible. A new patent describes the recycling of interior trim components to make new products—that is, not just throwing these pieces away and littering our planet. A new patent published by Tesla on May 27, 2021 entitled "Vehicle dash with recycled materials" describes environmentally friendly materials for vehicle dash and other vehicle components.
Conventional vehicles usually have interior components and panels made of synthetic materials to comply with numerous government safety and reliability regulations, as they have a number of properties that could not be achieved from environmentally friendly materials in the past. However, many of these traditional interior components are thrown away when the vehicle reaches the end of its lifespan. Thus, these components increase the amount of garbage in landfills and add to the car's overall carbon footprint. It is this problem that Tesla is trying to solve in its new patent.
In fact, the interior panel of Tesla vehicles can be made from special recycled material, which includes a recycled base material and a resin. In addition, some panels can be made of biodegradable or bio-based material: paper, cardboard, fiberboard, wood, pulp, bamboo, hemp, cork, desert sand, bioplastics, mycelium, a fiber alloy, cellulose nanofibers, biodegradable polymers ( BDPs), and combinations thereof.
In addition to this, the resin is also selected with the environment in mind, and selected from the group consisting of an acrylic resin, a urethane resin, a BPD-based resin, biodegradable resin, and a bio-based resin. In some embodiments, the resin is potato starch.
However, all final vehicle interior panel materials are resistant to thermal damage from temperatures ranging from about -40 °C to about 115 °C (-40 °F to 239 °F). The material is also resistant to humidity damage from atmospheric humidities of at least about 95%, and also has resistance to ultraviolet (UV) damage and has some resistance to ignition. All this makes these materials fully compliant not only with numerous government safety and reliability regulations but also environmentally friendly.
Increased use of environmentally friendly materials in vehicle components can reduce the vehicle's environmental impact, for example, by reducing landfill waste and the vehicle's carbon footprint. This is exactly what Tesla aims for—to not only produce carbon-neutral cars but also reduce the carbon footprint during the production phase and throughout the product’s lifespan.
© 2021, Eva Fox. All rights reserved.
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About the Author
Eva Fox joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover breaking news as an automotive journalist. The main topics that she covers are clean energy and electric vehicles. As a journalist, Eva is specialized in Tesla and topics related to the work and development of the company.