Plastics and cars: Revolutionary in 1941 With the combined concern about the environment and energy shortages, industries have been working hard to find ‘greener’ options for manufacturing products. The automobile industry is no exception. Hybrid cars and electric cars along with smaller cars and lighter weight cars continue to gain attention. Sustainability has become the goal. Some of the changes are revolutionary, ground-breaking. For example, Ford and Heinz are teaming up to make automobiles out of tomatoes. Okay, so the whole car won’t be made out of tomatoes, but some key parts may be. Pretty amazing, huh? It really isn’t surprising, though, considering Henry Ford’s reputation for experimenting with his automobiles. And it isn’t the first time for a vegetable (or fruit, if you will) to be used. On August 13, 1941, Henry Ford exhibited his “Soybean Car.” The car was made from a plastic created partly from soybeans. The plastic was much lighter than the steel that was being used to build automobiles at the time. Ford also hoped to create a stronger link between industry and agriculture. So it seems that the idea of sustainability has been around for awhile. It just took a little longer to catch on. From the soybean car to the tomato car, the automobile industry is definitely doing its part.