DETROIT — French auto supplier Faurecia SA thinks the next generation of automotive seating could eliminate polyurethane foam.
With its concept Sustainable Comfort Seat, the company replaces foam inside the seat with two sheets of injection-molded thermoplastic polyurethane. The design echoes the visible structure in some athletic shoes and the molded seats of office chairs.
The twin-sheet structure is part of a seat system that is 17 percent lighter than standard seats and 30 millimeters thinner, resulting in more legroom for rear-seat passengers.
The entire seat also uses an injection-molded nylon and long-glass-fiber structural frame that replaces steel and an injection-molded head restraint in place of foam and steel.
"There are multiple innovations in here," said Jay Hutchins, a product planning manager, during an interview last month at Faurecia's North American technical center in suburban Detroit.
Faurecia introduced the seat as part of its Light Attitude concept interior during the Los Angeles Auto Show in November. Since then, the company has been showing it to individual carmakers.