The all-new Ford Explorer is more than just the new fuel economy class leader in the midsize SUV segment. The reinvented Explorer, which arrives later this year, also sets a new benchmark for sustainability in the SUV segment due to an increased use of renewable and recycled content, such as parts made from steel left over from F-150 production.
The new Explorer also leverages Ford’s industry-leading use of bio foam and recycled fabric in its interior. These and other eco-improvements help make Explorer 85 percent recyclable.
“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.”
Ford is minimizing waste by making Explorer’s noise-dampening fender baffles, which fit between the vehicle’s outer shell and its inner structure, from steel left over after stamping the door openings out of F-150 body sides. The reuse allows Ford to reduce its use of virgin steel by an estimated 119 tons for one year of production. 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.
“By increasing the use of recycled or renewable content in our vehicles whenever possible, Ford is helping reduce waste to landfills by millions of pounds – and the new Explorer is no exception,” said Amy Marentic, group marketing manager, Ford Motor Company. “We believe customers will value these green features, as they help the environment without sacrificing the Explorer’s capability, utility and safety.”
Class-leading fuel efficiency
Fuel efficiency also plays a role in making the new Explorer a more sustainable SUV. The new Explorer excels at eco-friendly driving with two new fuel-efficient engines. The new engines include a responsive, 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.
“When we asked Explorer customers what they wanted from the 2011 vehicle, they asked for the freedom and empowerment Explorer has always delivered, with improved performance and significantly increased fuel economy,” Marentic said. “And that’s exactly what they will get with the 2011 Explorer.”