Ford Sustainability and Green Innovation: Ford Eco Tour

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Recently, Ford of Canada invited me to the Motor City to visit their state of the art factory and get a first hand look at their green innovations in Dearborn. During the 2 day media tour, we stayed at the historic Dearborn Inn, managed by Marriott Hotel. The 23 acres estate with 229 guest rooms was built in 1931 by the Ford Motor Company.

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In 1903, Henry Ford founded the Ford Motor Company. During our tour of The Henry Ford museum, I learned that Henry Ford was more than just a car guy and was a visionary and forward thinker.

Henry Ford revolutionized the modern assembly line and started a whole new industry in Detroit. In 1908, Ford introduced the Model T, the world’s first affordable car. The Model T changed the way Americans live, work and travel. For the first time car ownership become a reality for the common man. From 1908 to 1927, more than 15 million Model Ts were built in Detroit and Highland Park, Michigan.

Six years later, Henry Ford made history again by increasing the minimum wage to $5.00 per day to his workers.

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Following the foot steps of his great grand father Henry Ford, Bill Ford has been on the forefront of Ford’s tech initiatives and setup the company’s four pillars of global product strategy – quality, green, safe and smart. The global strategy oversee the development of new environmentally friendly engines like hybrids and EcoBoost to zero waste manufacturing.

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The 2008 Ford Escape was the first vehicle to use 100% REPREVE recycled fabric in the seats. For the past 13 years, Carol Kordich has been on mission to update all of Ford vehicles to use recycled fabrics and has developed more than 41 innovative fabrics. The new fabrics are produced from 100% post industrial waste from pop bottles to undyed polyester fibers that didn’t make the cut for consumer use.

“A global industry leader for sustainability once told me that you don’t have to be CEO to make things happen,” says Kordich. “One person can make a difference.”

Kordich achievement has led to:

- Since 2009, any new seat fabric used in Ford vehicles must contain at least 25% recycled content

- 2013 Ford Fusion/Mondeo is the first global program from any automaker to use recycled content on a worldwide basis

- 2015 Ford F-150 REPREVE implementation will divert more than 5 million plastic bottles from landfills this year

– To date, Ford has converse up to 600,000 gallons of water, 1.8 million pounds of carbon dioxide and 7 million kilowatt hours of electricity.

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Ford’s holistic approach to sustainability has led to the development of Michigan’s largest solar array. With the partnership with DTE Energy, Ford World Headquarter will install 30 charging stations for plug-in electric vehicles with 360 covered parking spaces. The solar arrays has capacity to generate 1.13 million kilowatt-hours annually. That’s enough to power 158 average sized homes. The solar installation is part of an initiative DTE Energy launched in 2009 called SolarCurrents. The program fulfill DTE Energy’s commitment to generate 10 percent of its energy from renewable sources by this year.

“We are thrilled to be collaborating with DTE Energy to bring a more efficient, renewable energy source to our offices,” said Donna Inch, chairman and CEO, Ford Motor Land Development Corporation. “This is an innovative project that will benefit both DTE Energy and Ford, and is yet another example of our work toward building a more sustainable future.”

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Speaking of Motor City, its only fitting that we ended Day 1 of the #FordEcoTour at a converted auto repair shop turned diner. Vinsetta Garage is the oldest garage east of the Mississippi. The decor is unique to the history of the building with old posters and original red brick walls. More importantly, the food is awesome.

Did you know Ford can recycle food byproducts into car parts?

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Curried Sweet Potato Bisque

– Plastic made from sweet potatoes is being tested for durability in interior applications such as the door map pocket

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Cheese Curds – beer battered and fried in soybean oil with a side of red hot blue cheese

– Soybean based foam is used in seat cushions & backs, head restraints and headliners in all Ford vehicles produce in North America

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Flank Steak – cane sweetened chili rub, grilled to order on wood burning char

– Sugarcane based plastic has made into interior fabrics

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Daily Free Fenton Fire Hall Coconut Lemongrass Custard

– Byproducts of coconuts (husks & shells) are being studied as reinforcement additives for molded plastics and can already be found in the Focus BEV and the F-150 truck

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Read Day 2 of the Ford Eco Tour (Rouge Factory Tour, Bio Material Lab)

James Chung

Vancouver Lifestyle, Cool Tech & Travel Adventure. Email: [email protected]

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