Concept cars used to be about pushing the elements of design. That is just so 1990s. The reality of auto manufacturing has been impacted by ideas like sustainability, carbon footprint and green – and I am not talking about the colour. This brings us to the 2011 Ford Focus Electric.
“An electric vehicle is already considered a green vehicle, but Ford wanted to go a step further by looking at ways to make the materials inside the Focus Electric more eco-friendly as well,” said Carrie Majeske, Ford’s product sustainability manager. Majeske further went on to say that the use of recycled or renewable materials – in lieu of petroleum-based materials – allows Ford to minimize the amount of virgin materials used in the Focus Electric.
The environmentally friendly reach of the Ford Focus Electric goes beyond its zero-emissions motor. Focus Electric combines recycled and renewable materials, green technologies and innovative manufacturing processes to make the car green from bumper to bumper.
The Focus Electric is not only green in areas where customers expect it to be. A material called Lignotock is used behind the cloth on the door. Derived from 85 per cent wood fibres, this lighter application results in a weight reduction and provides better sound-deadening benefits compared to conventional glass-reinforced thermal plastics. Ford has also found a way to increase the use of recycled materials in resins. Employing a strategy that specifies the use of a large quantity of post-consumer recycled material in a range of plastic applications. According to Majeske pop bottles and milk jugs eventually become part of components like under-body shields, wheel arch liners and air cleaner assemblies.
Building green and green-er
Ford, Detroit Edison and Xtreme Power are teaming up to establish one of Michigan’s largest solar power generation systems and electric vehicle charging stations. Located at the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich., where Focus Electric will be produced. Ford will work with Detroit Edison to install a 500-kilowatt solar photovoltaic panel system. This will be integrated with a 750-kilowatt energy storage facility that will have the capacity to store 2 million watt-hours of energy using batteries. That’s enough to power 100 average homes for a year.
Several innovative production processes at the plant will help make the vehicle even greener. For example, a new three-wet paint process applies all three coats of finish in sequence before oven curing. This new procedure ensures a high-quality paint finish while resulting in a significant reduction in energy use.
Charging plays a major role in Focus Electric ownership. So Ford also looked to make the vehicle’s home charging stations greener. Jointly developed with Leviton, a leading North American producer of electrical devices, Ford is offering a charging unit that has an outer shell made from up to 60 per cent post-consumer recycled material.
It’s easy being green
From advanced engine technology to greener charging stations, Ford Focus Electric offers customers environmentally friendly options throughout. The next generation in an all-around green vehicle certainly does make it easy to be green.