When Ford invited me to attend the North American International Auto Show (#FordNAIAS), I have to admit, I was a bit flummoxed and excited at the same time.
How sustainable can Ford be? It manufacture cars which use fossil fuel and pollute the air! I thought.
Besides, the event is in Detroit … in January! I’m sorry but it’s not like Miami, you know?? Brrrrr…
Not only that, I’m not exactly Danika Patrick when it comes to cars. I’m more of a “Just get me to Point B from Point A in one piece and I’m good” kinda person. I might drive like Danika – hubby might disagree on this – but I certainly don’t think about cars 24/7 like she probably does.
And here’s the other thing; up until recently, I drove a gas guzzling SUV in my suburban life. There. I confessed. (I once met a Prius driving local greenie for coffee who never called me back after seeing me drive off in my SUV. Snob. But how can I blame her?) But in my defense, albeit poor, when we leased the truck 6 years ago, there weren’t too many fuel efficient trucks on the market. And I needed to fit 4-5 fencing bags – which are longer than even your average golf bags – 4-5 backpacks, 4-5 gym bags, 4-5 teenagers and a dog (sometimes) in the car when I used it to carpool my kids and their friends to NYC 3-4 times a week. It was brutal when the gas price went up to over $5 per gallon. Once, the gas pump stopped pumping at $100 even though the tank wasn’t even filled. Thankfully, when we returned the truck, we found a clean diesel car we liked that gets close to 50 mpg.
So, when I received the invitation to be part of #FordNAIAS digital summit that will include a sustainable panel discussion, I was curious to learn how sustainable Ford really is. I heard that former CEO Bill Ford was really into sustainability, so I was even more curious. And in my research before the trip, I came across the company’s Global Sustainability Director, John Veira’s comment on GreenBiz. According to Veira, sustainability
“…has moved from the periphery to the center of our strategy for succeeding in the marketplace and helping to address global challenges. We understand that business practices focused on energy efficiency, sustainable materials, human rights and consumer safety are the key to the continued growth of our company and quality of life worldwide.”
So, he sounded promising, right?
How sustainable is Ford, really.
- Electrical consumption used in vehicle production at its manfacturing facilities was reduced by about 800 kilowatt-hours (kwh) last year – that’s higher than how much an average household uses in a month in some states, like CA and NY.
- Installed a 500-kilowatt solar panel system at its Wayne, Mich. plant, to create renewable energy during production of vehicles like the Focus and Focus Electric. And at its Buffalo stamping plant, a new LED lighting system is saving about 700 watts per fixture.
- Cut the amount it sent to landfills by 11.3 percent in 2011 from 2010. It also sliced overall CO2 emissions from its global operations, on a per-vehicle basis, by 8 percent last year.
- One-third of Ford vehicle lines offer a model featuring 40 mpg fuel efficiency or better.
- Expects its 2013 Fusion Hybrid to be “the world’s most fuel-efficient non-re-chargeable midsize sedan,” from 47 mpg in the city and 44mpg in the highway. Check Car and Driver for their review.
- Ford’s 2013 Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid, another midsize sedan, will have a projected 100 miles per gallon gasoline equivalent (MPGe) rating.
- Company’s new gas-turbo, direct-injection engines reduce CO2 emissions by up to 15 percent, with up to 20 percent greater fuel economy. That direct injection and turbo-charging allows Ford to use smaller engine blocks. The EcoBoost 6-cylinder engine “can produce power like a V-8 [and] a four-cylinder EcoBoost engine performs like a V-6.”, according to Veira. Ford expects to produce about 1.5 million EcoBoost engines next year — and to offer them in 90 percent of its North American models of cars and trucks.
- Sustainable materials is used for interior – recycled material as well as sustainable materials in many of their cars. Impressive. See below for what type of material is used for which part.
- Rouge factory, where their most popular truck of all time F-150 is manufactured, has the world’s largest living roof. Who knew? The roofs are covered with sedum that absorb up to 4 million gallons of rainwater annually and is part of a storm-water management system. The living roof produces oxygen and provides natural insulation for the building, thereby reducing energy costs. Rouge factory also has a a 12,500 gallon cistern that collects rainwater and uses it for irrigation and to restore its surrounding natural habitat with its reclaimed water from the roof. The roof acts as a filtration system, providing clean oxygenated water for the surrounding wetlands. You can read more about it in detail from Green-Talk. Anna is an avid gardener and green builder; she knows how important a living roof is for the environment. The rouge factory wasn’t always this pristine. It was polluted at one time but Bill Ford Jr. had a plan to clean up the area and to create a balance between ecology and business.
Boy, there are so much I learned about Ford and its sustainability programs but I can’t tell you everything in one post. Visit Ford’s sustainability website and get more scoop from there. I never realized the amount of environmental education I’d get from Ford, a car company!
Yes, the C.E.O. of Ford Motors Co., posed for a picture with us. I’m preparing the interview video I took of Mr. Alan Mulally, answering my question so I’ll post it very shortly.
So what do you think? Would you buy Ford cars, knowing its sustainable values and efforts?
P.S. I’m still waiting to test drive the C-Max EV.
Read the following posts about our trip to #FordNAIAS by Green Sisterhood writers:
- Green Talk: Rouge Factory and Green Trucks
- Big Green Purse: Shopping for a new Car
- Nature Moms: Green Cars at NAIAS
- The Green Divas – Green Divas at NAIAS
- Good Girl Gone Green – Wordless Wednesday
Disclaimer: Ford paid for my trip to its #FordNAIAS but this opinion is all of my own.