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A tequila twist for Ford, as carmaker explores agave deal with Jose Cuervo

A Ford Escape sports utility vehicle (SUV) undergoes final inspection during production at the Ford Motor Co. assembly plant in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S., on Tuesday, April 28, 2015.
Luke Sharrett | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A Ford Escape sports utility vehicle (SUV) undergoes final inspection during production at the Ford Motor Co. assembly plant in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S., on Tuesday, April 28, 2015.

It's not quite salt and a lime, but Ford thinks its cars and trucks could be a pretty good fit with Jose Cuervo, the famed tequila maker.

The two companies are exploring whether the agave byproduct left after tequila is made could be used in parts that would go into Ford vehicles.

Why? Ford believes agave byproduct could make for lighter and more resilient bioplastics than some petrochemical materials use in components such as wiring harnesses or storage bins.

As fuel economy standards push the required mileage for new vehicles to 54.5 mpg by 2025, automakers are looking to strip as much weight out of their vehicles as possible.

"There are about 400 pounds of plastic on a typical car," said Debbie Mielewski, Ford's senior technical leader in the sustainability research department. "Our job is to find the right place for a green composite like this to help our impact on the planet."

For Cuervo, partnering with Ford could help the Mexican company find another market for the agave byproduct it generates while making tequila. The company currently uses some of the agave fibers as compost for its farms while artisans also make crafts and paper from agave remnants.

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