DEARBORN — Drivers of the all-new Ford Escape may be surprised to find out there is a plant inside the door.
As part of its overall effort to make vehicles more sustainable, Ford is making the material inside the door — known as the bolster — in part from kenaf.
Kenaf is a tropical plant that looks similar to bamboo and is related to cotton. The plant replaces oil-based materials inside the doors of the all-new Ford Escape.
The use of kenaf is anticipated to offset 300,000 pounds of oil-based resin per year in North America; use of this eco-friendly material reduces the weight of the door bolsters by 25 percent. Weight savings translate into fuel savings for drivers.
“Kenaf and the other renewable materials in the Escape have made the vehicle more environmentally friendly and fuel efficient,” said Laura Sinclair, materials engineer for Escape.
Kenaf oil is used in cosmetics and kenaf fiber is used as an alternative to wood in the production of paper. The upper leaves and shoots of the plant are edible.
The kenaf is combined with polypropylene in a 50-50 mixture inside the door of the Escape. International Automotive Components manufactures the door bolsters in Greencastle, Ind.
The new Escape, which will be available to customers this spring, features several eco-friendly components in addition to the kenaf inside the doors.
Materials that are recycled, renewable, and that reduce impact on the environment include soy foam in the seats and head restraints; plastic bottles and other post-consumer and post-industrial materials in the carpeting; climate control gaskets made from recycled tires; and more than 10 pounds of scrap cotton from the making of denim jeans.
Wide use of more environmentally friendly, recycled and recyclable materials complements the projected best-in-class fuel economy of the all-new Ford Escape, further boosting the vehicle’s environmentally responsible credentials. The new Escape meets the USCAR Vehicle Recycling Partnership goal that 85 percent of the vehicle is recyclable.
More at www.ford.com.