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Ford Teams with Heinz to Use Tomatoes for Plastics

Maker using skins for wiring and storage bins.

by on Jun.11, 2014

Researchers at Ford and Heinz are investigating the use of tomato fibers in developing sustainable, composite materials for use in vehicle manufacturing.

Your next Ford might make you crave French fries, or at least make you think of them when you realize part of the car may be made from dried tomato skins from the H.J. Heinz Co.

Researchers at Ford and Heinz, perhaps best known for its ketchup, are exploring ways to use the skins in certain applications, specifically wiring brackets and storage bins for holding coins or other small objects.

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“We are exploring whether this food processing byproduct makes sense for an automotive application,” said Ellen Lee, plastics research technical specialist for Ford. “Our goal is to develop a strong, lightweight material that meets our vehicle requirements, while at the same time reducing our overall environmental impact.” (more…)

Ford to Cut Factory CO2 Emissions 30% by 2025

Maker claims it’s already reduced output of global warming gas 37% since 2000.

by on Jun.14, 2013

Ford Chairman Bill Ford Jr. has lent strong support to the maker's green initiatives.

Ford Motor Co. aims to reduce the CO2 output of its global factory network by 30% by 2025, part of a sustainability effort that has already seen a 37% drop in the emissions of the global warming gas since 2000, the maker says.

That was one of the key messages outlined in Ford’s 14th annual Sustainability Report released Friday. The maker said its factory effort helped reduce by 4.65 million tons the amount of all emissions it has produced since the beginning of the new Millennium, a 47% overall reduction.

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The maker said that its “Blueprint for Sustainability” calls for other steps to benefit the environment. It is using less water, for example, while also finding ways to do more work while consuming less energy.


Toyota Named the World’s Best Global Green Brand

Ford, Honda, Nissan and VW also land in Top 10.

by on Jun.12, 2013

The popular Prius hybrid helped Toyota land at the top of the Best Global Green Brand list.

Toyota has once again been picked as the world’s greenest brand, according to an annual consumer study that found five automotive brands among the Top 10.

While the automobile itself may be linked to an assortment of environmental issues, from smog to global warming, automotive manufacturers are gaining increased recognition for their focus on sustainability, whether reducing fuel consumption, eliminating plant wastes or recycling materials like rubber, plastic and metal into new components.

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Repeating in the number one spot, “Toyota is a leading example of what can result,” noted an announcement from Interbrand, a major brand consultancy and author of an assortment of studies rankings global brands. The newest is the third annual Best Global Green Brands report.


Ford Offering Solar Charger for Focus Electric

Getting off the grid won’t come cheap.

by on Aug.18, 2011

Ford will let California buyers of the Focus Electric charge up using solar power.

Those looking to buy the new Ford Focus Electric, when it begins a slow roll-out later this year, will have a chance to go even greener by adding an optional solar charging system, the carmaker says.

Ford is partnering with Silicon Valley’s largest supplier of solar power arrays, SunPower Corp., to provide a 2.5 kilowatt rooftop charging system that could replenish a drained lithium-ion battery pack in about 10 hours.

Skeptics have often complained that battery cars aren’t as clean as proponents claim, since they still have to get their power from utilities that might use coal or other fossil fuels.  The news means dedicated greenies can disconnect from the grid entirely – at least when it comes to charging up the Ford Focus Electric, which will yield more than 80 miles per charge.

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But cutting the electric company out of the picture won’t come cheap.  While Ford and SunPower are offering a deep discount of more than 40% off the normal price tag, the rooftop system will still cost $10,000 after receiving a federal tax credit.

Were a motorist to need to fully charge a Focus Electric from the grid each day it would cost about $10 a week, so the payback period for the SunPower system would be about 20 years.


Where The Rubber – And Old Blue Jeans – Meet The Road

Ford recycling old clothing for use in new Focus model.

by on Nov.30, 2010

The 2012 Ford Focus will make use of recycled jeans and other materials.

While some folks routinely give old clothes to charity, those worn jeans and torn sweaters are far more likely to end up in the landfill.  But Ford Motor Co. has found yet another, better use for those old bell bottoms.

With the debut of the 2012 Focus, cotton from recycled clothing will be transformed into carpet backing and sound-deadening insulation.  Each car will use the equivalent of about two pairs of classic American jeans, the company says.

“Ford is continually looking for greener alternatives,” notes Carrie Majeske, the automaker’s product sustainability manager. “One of our key goals is to use more recycled or renewable materials without compromising performance or durability. Recycled content is a way to divert waste from landfills and reduce the impact of mining virgin material.”

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The use of recycled and non-traditional materials dates back to the days of Henry Ford himself, a strong advocate for the use of soy-based materials – some of which came from the soybean crops grown on his vast land holdings near Ford Motor Co.’s Dearborn, Michigan headquarters.

The maker continues to use soy foams for seating, along with recycled plastics and even re-purposed rubber from tires, for applications ranging from interior panels to pedal covers.


Ford Betting Big on Battery Power

Cost cuts critical to advanced hybrids, plug-ins and pure EVs, says Kuzak.

by on Jul.22, 2009

Ford hopes to launch its first commercial battery-electric vehicle, the Transit Connect EV, in 2010, with a battery-powered Focus to follow a year later.

Ford hopes to launch its first commercial battery-electric vehicle, the Transit Connect EV, in 2010, with a battery-powered Focus to follow a year later.

Battery-powered vehicles, whether hybrids, plug-ins or pure battery-electric vehicles, “are the future,” says Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally.  But while the automaker has committed to bring all three forms of battery vehicles to market in the next few years, Ford officials warn that it will take significant reductions in cost to move such technology into the mainstream.

With the recent launch of the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan, the second generation of the company’s hybrid-electric vehicles, Ford has been able to cut costs for the underlying hybrid technology by 30%, and the automaker is targeting yet another 30% reduction with its Gen-3 battery technology, global product chief Derrick Kuzak tells

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“We know how to make the technology work,” says Kuzak, so now we’re working on affordability.”  But the soft-spoken executive quickly stresses that, “We can’t do this by ourselves.”