We’ve always thought the seventh-generation Corvette Stingray looked like a Batmobile.
Now we know one reason why.
General Motors says remnants of an adhesive used to join body panels of the 2015 Stingray can be reused to help save an embattled bat species in North America.
White-nose syndrome has already killed an estimated 5.7 million bats in the United States and Canada. No cure exists for the disease, which causes bats to die after they wake up from hibernation too often, but scientists believe non-toxic fungicides and artificial bat caves may help the bats to survive.
That’s where the leftover adhesive used on the new Stingray comes into play. GM has discovered that the adhesive can become a stalactite in artificial bat caves, allowing hibernating bats more surface area from which to hang and spreading them around the cave to cut down transmission of the disease.
It’s important to save bats because they are a key part of the circle of life, if you will. For example, one bat can eat up to 5,000 insects in a single night, helping farmers cut down on their use of pesticides. Bats also help with pollination, repopulating plants and maintaining forests.
“We need to do what we can to prevent more bats from contracting white-nose syndrome while they are hibernating,” said Rob Mies, executive director for the Organization for Bat Conservation. “Researchers are working around the clock to find a way to stop the transmission from occurring in caves. This disease is occurring at a rapidly escalating rate and if a solution is not found soon, many bat species could face extinction.”
Using the adhesive remnants means GM doesn’t have to send it to a landfill. The robots that apply the adhesive to join Corvette parts are purged periodically to keep dried material off the applicator, and this dried gunk is great for making a stalactite.
GM actually does more than its share to take care of the environment. For example, scrap Chevrolet Volt battery covers are also being used to create bat houses that can be home to as many as 150 brown bats and also have been transformed into specially designed structures to serve wood ducks, owls, bluebirds and scaly-sided mergansers – an endangered species.
“We think of waste as just a resource out of place and work hard to keep materials in use,” said John Bradburn, GM global manager of waste reduction. “Just like our stalactite concept or our bat houses, we seek out creative reuse projects that touch other elements of sustainability such as community engagement and wildlife preservation.”
GM Brownstown Battery Assembly, which generates scrap as it assembles battery packs for the Volt, is one of GM’s 122 landfill-free facilities.