Ford Vehicles In Grandville, Michigan

Here’s Why There’s a Tropical Plant in the New Ford Escape

February 6th, 2012

We’ve told you before about the things lurking inside Ford vehicles that may sound fairly bizarre but in reality are ultra revolutionary. You know, like recycled denim jeans acting as sound insulation, and carpet as an ingredient in cylinder heads covers. Ford is also exploring the idea of coconut fiber as reinforcement for plastic parts.

But let’s get to the matter at hand: a plant in the all-new Escape! It’s called kenaf and is a tropical plant related to cotton and okra plants and looks a bit like bamboo. It’s part of the bolster material inside the doors and is combined with polypropylene in a 50-50 mixture; the plant replaces oil-based materials. The benefit? Beyond sounding cool when you talk about the sustainable materials in your Escape, using kenaf is anticipated to offset 300,000 pounds of oil-based resin per year in North America, and the material reduces the weight of the door bolsters by 25 percent.

Let’s repeat that – 25 percent. Why is it important enough to repeat? Weight savings translates to fuel savings.

Kenaf might also be lurking in everyday items you use, such as cosmetics, and also can be an alternative to wood in the production of paper. Survival tip: the upper leaves and shoots are edible.

Other materials featured in the Escape that are recycled and renewable and 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. The new Escape meets the USCAR Vehicle Recycling Partnership goal that 85 percent of the vehicle is recyclable.


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