Is Ford seeing the greener side of life?

Going green is the new catch phrase…and rightfully so. Ford Motor Company (quite possibly the only big three manufacturer to stave off bankruptcy, we will learn about GM’s fate in a week or so) is working to develop more eco-friendly products to meet consumer expectations who want to live more sustainable lifestyles.

Ford states that:

…designers and researchers are taking a total green approach to vehicle development and design, stepping beyond just fuel efficiency and what’s under the hood and incorporating more sustainable materials and processes inside the vehicle, too.

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What is Ford doing or planning to do?

  • Soy-based foam seat cushions and backs
  • Seat fabrics made with varying degrees of post-industrial yarns
  • Suede-like material created from plastic pop bottles
  • Underbody systems, such as aerodynamic shields, splash shields, and radiator air deflector shields, made from post-consumer recycled resins such as detergent bottles, tires and battery casings
  • Chromium-free leather
  • Engineered ebony wood
  • Corn-based, compostable and natural-fiber filled plastics
  • Polylactic acid (PLA), a biodegradable plastic derived completely from the sugars in corn, sugarbeets, sugarcane, switch grass and other plants
  • The replacement of petroleum-based fillers with soy protein fillers in rubber for items such as door seals, floor mats, gaskets and splash shields
  • The replacement of petroleum-based fillers with soy protein fillers in rubber for items such as door seals, floor mats, gaskets and splash shields

The key task engineers are faced with is to design and use sustainable products that don’t sacrifice functionality and durability. I believe we are at a turning point in time where people expect companies to be more environmentally conscious. If the technology exists to minimize our carbon footprint with little added cost and significant positive environmental impacts, why not implement it? I believe it is up to our generation to make a concerted effort to develop products that are sustainably. The age of design, produce, use, and throw away is not going to work for much longer.

What do you think? What efforts should be made to make products more environmentally friendly and sustainable?

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Auto Upkeep 4th Edition

Michael Gray

Mike has roots in the automotive service industry. He began diagnosing and fixing cars at a young age in his family’s service station. He has worked in automotive parts supply stores, towing companies, and service facilities. After graduating from St. Cloud State University (MN) with a Bachelor’s degree, he implemented and taught a basic car care program at the high school level. During work on his Master’s degree at Illinois State University (IL), he was a curriculum specialist on a National Science Foundation project where he co-authored ten integrated mathematics, science, and technology books designed for team teaching. Mike has also supervised teachers in Career and Technology Education as a school system administrator.

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