Ford's Sustainable Road Trip: How America's Best Selling Truck is Built Ford Tough and Green

How Ford Serves Up America’s Best-Selling Truck: Tough with a Side of Eco-Friendly

I have seen firsthand the reliability of Ford trucks. I have owned three Ford Expeditions and one Explorer and have enjoyed the fact that we can always count on them. It is crazy how they rarely break down or have problems and they just go forever.

I have also seen firsthand Ford's commitment to the environment in talking to Bill Ford and John Viera, Ford global director of sustainability and vehicle environmental matters, as well as through touring their plants, and it is hard not to admire their green efforts.

Ford continues to work toward a greener future and in the process, they are pulling consumers along with them on a their sustainable road trip.

This Sustainable Road Trip Includes Blue Jeans, Rice Hulls and More Green Innovation

I have talked before about the eco-friendly materials used in Ford cars from recycled water bottles to blue jeans and now, rice hulls are the latest sustainable material Engineers at Ford have discovered to use in the Ford F-150. The rice hulls are used to reinforce plastic in an electrical harness in the 2014 F-150.

Other eco-friendly materials in F-Series trucks are soybeans and post-industrial recycled cotton – one 2014 Ford F-150 truck uses the equivalent of about 10 pairs of jeans, 26 bath towels or 31 T-shirts as carpet insulation or sound absorber.

But don't think that the eco-friendly materials are all that Ford does to go green. These eco-materials serve to complement fuel efficient F-Series powertrains, including an available 3.5-liter EcoBoost® engine, which improves fuel economy up to 20 percent and reduces CO2 emissions up to 15 percent compared to similarly capable V8 engines.

In using eco-friendly materials, Ford is proving that pickups can be green and tough and they are starting with America’s best-selling truck, the F-150.
“The 2014 F-Series exemplifies our continued efforts to use recycled content in our vehicles,” said John Viera, Ford global director of sustainability and vehicle environmental matters. “We can have greater impact in this case because of the size and sales volume of this product.”
The rice hulls are sourced from farms in Arkansas and will replace a talc-based reinforcement in a polypropylene composite made through another mutually beneficial partnership for consumers with  RheTech, a Whitmore Lake, Mich.-based automotive supplier.

“We developed this resin specifically for Ford over the last three years, working with the automaker closely, including in all phases of material qualification,” said David Preston, director of business development for RheTech. “The whole process has been a rewarding success for both Ford and RheTech, which can add yet another natural-fiber based product to our RheVision line.”
Ford F-150 Green, Gutsy and Going Further for Consumers and the Environment

Rice hull-reinforced plastic is the most recent example of Ford researchers and engineers using sustainable material whenever possible in the F-Series – without compromising that gutsy toughness and durability consuemrs know and love.

F-Series trucks already feature these great, green features:
  •  Recycled cotton: Used as carpet insulation and a sound absorber; every 2014 F-150 contains enough recycled cotton to make the equivalent of 10 pairs of jeans
  • Soybeans: Used to make seat cushions, seat backs and head restraints
  • Recycled carpet: Some F-150 trucks have cylinder head covers made with EcoLon, a nylon resin produced from 100 percent post-consumer recycled carpet
  • Recycled tires: A thermoplastic material made from recycled tires and post-consumer recycled polypropylene is used to make shields and some underbody covers on F-150
  • Recycled plastic soda pop and water bottles: A lightweight fiber derived from recycled plastic soda pop and water bottles is used to construct F-150 wheel liners and shields. The parts are significantly lighter than traditional injection molded parts and lead to a quieter ride. Select F-Series trucks feature fabric made from recycled fiber
  • Recycled post-industrial plastics: Used in interior finish panels, including around radio and climate controls

For Ford Motors, Sustainability is Not Just About Going Green is About Going Further to Create a Better Vehicle

As I learned when I spoke to Ellen Lee, Plastics Research Tech Expert and Angela Harris, Plastics Research Engineer with Ford Motor Company's Sustainable Materials Lab, researchers in Dearborn are constantly searching for the next sustainable material that can be used in Ford vehicles to create a better vehicle for consumers and the planet.

Still, finding a greener material is only the beginning of the process because before making it to production, components made from recycled content must perform as well or better than comparable virgin-grade material. At Ford, it is not just about going green, it is about going further to create a better vehicle.

Materials development engineers like Ellen and Angela at Ford Materials Engineering, Testing and Standards in Dearborn, in conjunction with RheTech, conducted testing of the rice hull material for more than a year, examining everything from smell and appearance to functionality and flammability. The rice hull-based material successfully passed all tests.

Ford: Driving Environmental Change, Offering Consumers Choices, and Making a Difference Beyond The Factory Floor

With F-Series as America’s best-selling truck for 36 years – averaging more than 650,000 sales per year – the environmental impact of being as sustainable as possible adds up fast. Ford estimates about 10 million pounds of recycled cotton are used in F-Series trucks annually.
“Fuel economy is a top priority when it comes to Ford’s environmental impact,” says Carrie Majeske, Ford product sustainability manager. “But we also recognize the tremendous impact that can be made by using sustainable materials inside our cars, utilities and trucks.”
The eco-friendly aspects of F-Series extend to the powertrain where both consumers and the environment feel the benefits. The available 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine combines technologies typically associated with heavy-duty truck diesel engines – turbocharging and direct fuel injection – in a gasoline engine. The engine delivers fuel economy gains of up to 20 percent, while reducing CO2 emissions by up to 15 percent.

Further, the 2014 F-150 equipped with a 3.7-liter V6 engine will be available this fall with a factory-installed package that allows the engine to operate on either natural gas or gasoline through separate fuel systems.

The complete F-Series Super Duty pickup truck and chassis cab lineup is available with gasoline, diesel, B20, and dedicated compressed natural gas or liquid propane gas capability, or CNG/LPG bi-fuel capability, while Ford F-650 and F-750 medium-duty trucks can be outfitted for gasoline, biodiesel or CNG/LPG operation. In addition to biodiesel and CNG/LPG offerings, the 6.2-liter V8 can operate on E85, an ethanol-gasoline mix.

More press releases, graphics and videos related to Ford’s sustainability efforts can be found here.

P.S.- People always ask me where I get my organic food and personal care products and I love to tell them about The Green PolkaDot Box! Backed by the Organic Consumer's Association and, you can easily buy NonGMO organic groceries, including Harvest Fresh Organic produce, at wholesale pricing online.  It's like a Sam's club but focused on products for green, healthy living! You can even shop by dietary restrictions like gluten free, vegan or diabetic and it all comes right to your front door. Enjoy!

Source: Built Ford Green: Sustainable Materials Make America’s Best-Selling Truck Environmentally Friendly and Tough | Ford Media Center

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