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Ford F-150 goes green

Ford sells a mammoth 650,000 F-Series trucks each year.

Using terms such as ‘eco-friendly’ and ‘sustainability’ when talking about the Ford F-150 doesn’t quite feel right.

But, Ford is now working to make the F-150 cleaner and greener, even to the point of using sustainable materials in the production of the ultra-popular pick-up.

The auto giants recently substituted talc-based reinforcement in an electrical harness with rice hulls, a naturally grown by-product of rice grain.

This follows the introduction of other sustainable materials into the tough truck in recent times, including;

  • Recycled cotton: Used as carpet insulation and a sound absorber.
  • Soybeans: Used to make seat cushions, seat backs and head restraints.
  • Recycled carpet: Some F-150 trucks have cylinder head covers made with EcoLon, a nylon resin produced from 100 percent post-consumer recycled carpet.
  • Recycled tires: A thermoplastic material made from recycled tires and post-consumer recycled polypropylene is used to make shields and some under body covers on the F-150.
  • Recycled plastic soda pop and water bottles: A lightweight fibre derived from recycled plastic soda pop and water bottles is used to construct F-150 wheel liners and shields.
  • Recycled post-industrial plastics: Used in interior finish panels, including around radio and climate controls.

Beyond the sustainable materials the model now also offers two engines that are much more environmentally friendly than power plants traditionally offered in the pick-up.

Ford recently slotted a 3.5-litre turbo EcoBoost engine under the bonnet, and from next year a V6 engine will be offered that can operate on either natural gas or petrol through separate fuel systems.

Ford sells a mammoth 650,000 F-Series trucks each year so it stands to reason that efficiency gains and the use of sustainable materials will have a significant positive impact on the environment.

Joel Helmes is the editor of the Behind the Wheel radio program, heard on more than 150 stations around Australia, and www.behindthewheel.com.au