The 2011 Ford Explorer is going green, really green, with 85 percent recyclable material including: 40 percent soy polyurethane foam in its seat cushions and seatbacks, 25 percent recycled fiber in its seat upholstery, bolster and carpeting, and recycled steel left over from F-150 production in its noise-dampening fender baffles.
"Ford has made tremendous strides, not only in improving fuel economy in the new Explorer, but also in using more environmentally friendly materials," said Jim Holland, chief nameplate engineer. "By offering better fuel efficiency in an overall greener package, we're offering our SUV customers an appealing and sustainable product."
The company's plan to reduce its use of virgin steel by an estimated 119 tons for one year of production will reduce CO2 emissions by about 119 tons, Ford said in a press release.
The use of recycled fiber instead of virgin fiber results in an estimated 20 percent reduction in energy consumption, 17 percent waste elimination, and 14 percent reduction in CO2 emissions for the Explorer's seating materials, Ford said.
The use of soy foam will reduce its annual petroleum oil usage by more than 10,500 barrels, and is up to 24 percent more renewable than petroleum-based foam. The use of soy foam also has helped Ford reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 11 million pounds, Ford said.
"By increasing the use of recycled or renewable content in our vehicles whenever possible, Ford is helping reduce waste to landfills by millions of pounds, and the new Explorer is no exception," said Group Marketing Manager Amy Marentic. "We believe customers will value these green features, as they help the environment without sacrificing the Explorer's capability, utility, and safety."
The use of recycled and green materials aren't the only way Ford is making the 2011 Explorer green. The new engines include a responsive, fuel-efficient V6 and a turbocharged, direct-injection 2-liter four-cylinder EcoBoost engine. The EcoBoost engine delivers more than 30 percent better fuel economy than the current V6-powered models.
Less weight also adds to better fuel economy. The aluminum hood and one-piece composite front bolster, for example, make the body 35 pounds lighter.The sporty body design is enhanced by aerodynamic improvements: the new sideview mirrors, front air dam, and the rear liftgate spoiler help increase fuel efficiency by 4 percent.
In the cabin, a variable-displacement air-conditioning compressor reduces parasitic engine drag contributing to fuel efficiency.