SUVs have a rap as ecological disasters. Ford Motor Co. said its new Ford Explorer is a greener shade of SUV, using more recycled and renewable materials, as well as improved fuel efficiency over its predecessors.

The reinvented Explorer follows Ford’s industry-leading use of bio foam and recycled fabric in its interior, as well as recycled steel in select exterior parts. In fact, Ford is reducing its use of virgin steel by an estimated 119 tons a year by making Explorer’s noise-dampening fender baffles from the steel left over from stamping out the door openings of F-150 body sides.

Using less virgin steel also reduces CO2 emissions by approximately 119 tons – about the same amount emitted by a midsize car driving the circumference of the earth 14 times.

The Explorer interior also incorporates sustainable materials to lessen its environmental impact. Explorer uses 25 percent recycled fiber in its interior fabrics, including seat upholstery, bolster and carpeting. 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.

The new Explorer is the latest Ford vehicle to feature 40 percent soy polyurethane foam in seat cushions and seatbacks. Ford remains committed to using the bio-based material in nearly 100 percent of its North American vehicle lineup by the end of the year.

Soy foam has helped Ford 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 — the annual equivalent of 965 typical American households.

And the new Explorer is the new fuel economy class leader in the midsize SUV segment, using Ford’s latest high-tech powertrains and mechanical enhancements to achieve fuel economy improvements of more than 30 percent without sacrificing performance.

The new engines include a fuel-efficient V6 and a turbocharged, direct-injection 2.0-liter four-cylinder EcoBoost engine. The EcoBoost engine delivers more than 30 percent better fuel economy than the current V6-powered Explorer, without sacrificing capability and performance.

“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.”

(c) 2010, WWJ Newsradio 950. All rights reserved.


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