Ford Cuts Vehicle CO2 Emissions, Inches Up Fuel Economy

Ford Cuts Vehicle CO2 Emissions, Inches Up Fuel Economy

Ford logo - CC license by Flickr user chrisdlugosz

Last year, Ford cut its new vehicles' carbon dioxide emissions by 12 percent, slightly improved fleet fuel economy, exceeded its water and landfill waste goals, saved $15 million with energy efficiency efforts and increased its use of recycled, renewable and lightweight materials.

Ford details its environmental progress in its 11th annual sustainability report, "Blueprint for Sustainability: The Future at Work."

Ford is making headway on its goal of cutting the CO2 emissions of new U.S. and European vehicles by 30 percent by 2020, compared to 2006. Last year the company's lowered the CO2 emissions of its 2009 model year vehicles in North America by 12 percent, compared to 2006.

The company's U.S. car and truck fleet fuel economy also increased, from 26 miles per gallon in 2008 to 27.1 mpg in 2009. Ford says that its Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) for 2010 model year cars went up 3.2 percent due to demand for fuel-efficient mid-sized car, but its truck fuel economy went down 2.4 percent due to demand for standard pickups and large SUVs.

On two fronts - water and waste - Ford exceeded its goals by more than 10 percent each. Ford aimed to reduce global water use by 6 percent compared to 2008, and ended up with a 16.6 reduction. The company also joined the Carbon Disclosure Project's Water Disclosure program in order to help create a water disclosure protocol. Ford had also planned to cut the amount of waste sent to landfill by 10 percent compared to 2008, and ended up cutting it by 20.7 percent.

Ford reports that its worldwide facility energy use and emissions, as well as energy use and emission per vehicle, also all went down in 2009. Its North American operations improved energy efficiency by 4.6 percent, saving the company $15 million. Ford is expecting a further $1.2 million annual energy savings to come from a new PC power management system that turns off computers at night.

Electric Vehicles, Materials and Packaging

Along with improving the environmental impact of its overall operations, Ford made progress on changes to its product offerings and the materials inside them.

Ford has met its goal of doubling the number of flexible-fuel vehicles it produces in the U.S., and introduced its EcoBoost engine to Europe and China. EcoBoost provides up to 20 percent better fuel economy than comparable engines. It also launched its fifth hybrid, the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, and a battery-powered Ford Transit Connect Electric commercial van for fleet customers.

From now through 2013, Ford plans to launch a battery-powered passenger vehicle based on the Ford Focus, two next-generation hybrids and a plug-in hybrid. On the electric vehicle front, Ford teamed up with Microsoft to bring its Hohm energy management software to plug-in users to help them determine when and how to recharge their vehicles, and also partnered with Coulomb Technologies to provide free in-home ChargePoint Networked Charging Stations for some electric vehicle customers.

As for what materials are inside of its vehicles, Ford has been experimenting with a mix of recycled-content, renewable-material-based and lightweight components, along with phasing out substances of concern.

Ford extended its use of soy foam seating, introduced a soy foam headliner, started using plastics reinforced with wheat grass, expanded its use of recycled content in seats and headliners, eliminated the use of lead wheel weights in North America and Europe, and cut out mercury from all of its Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles except the Lincoln Town Car.

Starting last year, Ford put in place a resin strategy that calls for post-consumer recycled plastic to be used when making underbody and aerodynamics shields, fender liners, splash shields, stone pecking cuffs and radiator air deflector shields in North America. The company estimates it saved $4-5 million last year by using 25-30 million pounds of recycled material.

To make vehicles lighter, Ford has increased its use of aluminum and magnesium, such as in the liftgate for the 2010 Lincoln MKT, which is more than 20 pounds (40 percent) lighter than a liftgate made of steel.

And for moving around its vehicles parts, Ford laid out packaging guidelines that require suppliers to use 100 percent recycled, renewable or recyclable material for parts and materials packaging.

Ford logo - CC license by Flickr user chrisdlugosz