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Ford's aim: Make the 2011 Explorer sustainable

Ford's aim: Make the 2011 Explorer sustainable

Posting in Energy

Ford's latest Explorer SUV is 85 percent recyclable due to the use of bio foam, recycled fabric and a reduction in new steel.

Ford said Thursday that its latest Explorer SUV is 85 percent recyclable due to the use of bio foam, recycled fabric and a reduction in new steel.

It's an interesting twist for the SUV class---often derided as a sign that consumers don't care enough about energy efficiency. Ford is trying to remake that conversation by pitching a sustainable SUV.

Among the key points:

  • Ford is cutting its use of virgin steel by 119 tons a year by making the Explorer partly with left over steel from manufacturing the F-150.
  • Using less virgin steel also cuts CO2 emissions by 119 tons.
  • The Explorer interior uses 25 percent recycled fabrics for seats and carpeting. That use of recycled fiber cuts energy consumption by 20 percent. Waste falls 17 percent and CO2 emissions drops 14 percent.
  • Ford is using 40 percent soy polyurethane foam in seat cushions and seatbacks. Ford plans to roll that soy foam out to its entire fleet by the end of the year.
  • That soy usage will cut oil usage by 10,500 barrels. Petroleum is used in foam.

The big question is whether consumers will factor in sustainability in their SUV buying decisions.

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Larry Dignan

Editor-in-Chief

Editor-in-Chief Larry Dignan is editor-in-chief of SmartPlanet and ZDNet. He is also editorial director of TechRepublic. Previously, he was an editor at eWeek, Baseline and CNET News. He has written for WallStreetWeek.com, Inter@ctive Week, New York Times and Financial Planning. He holds degrees from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the University of Delaware. He is based in New York but resides in Pennsylvania. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure