The Blue Oval is definitely thinking greenerwith each new model announced. Case-in-point, the new2011 Explorer that's on deckfor a winter release. Just today, Ford has revealed thatthe SUV will be85-percent recyclable. Not only willit be one of the most fuel efficient sport-utes around, but thanks to a widespread use of bio foam, recycled fabrics, and reused steel, it's on track to be one of the greenest rides built in America.
To get to that 85-percent mark, engineers used leftover steel scraps from the F-150 door stampings to make up the Explorer's noise cancelling fender baffles. This alone cuts virgin steel usage by 119 tons per production year, and eliminates carbon dioxide emissions by the same amount, too.
Seats, bolsters, and carpets are covered in fabrics comprised of 25-percent recycled fibers. This reduces energy consumption by 20 percent, waste elimination by 17 percent, and CO2 emissions by 14 percent.
Within the seats resides another of the Explorer's green secret sauces: a polyurethane foam that's 40-percent soy based. The material fills cushions and seatbacks, and according to officials, will be employed by all North American models by year's end.
So far, soy foam has reduced the Blue Oval's annual use of petroleum oil by 10,500 barrels, and cut carbon emissions by 11 million pounds.
There are also the sleeker aerodynamic bits like exterior mirrors, nose air dam, and rear roof spoiler that bump up fuel efficiency by 4 percent. The six-speed gearbox and implementation of lightweight steel give another fuel efficiency boost by 2 percent and 1 percent, respectively.