What makes an electric vehicle environmentally friendly or green? Most would say it is the zero-emissions of the all-electric motor. However, the 2012 Ford Focus Electric has more going for it than just the all-electric powertrain and global C-segment chassis. When building a car that is marketed on how sustainable it is, it makes sense to change how you approach the materials going into the vehicle so they to are the most environmentally friendly. At least, that seems to be the Ford Motor Company approach to building an electric car. It might just surprise you how much comes from recycled or renewable sources in the all-new Focus Electric.

Carrie Majeske, product sustainability manger, Ford Motor Company explains it like this:

“An electric vehicle is already considered a green vehicle, but Ford wanted to go a step further by looking at ways to make the materials inside the Focus Electric more eco-friendly as well. Using recycled or renewable materials in lieu of petroleum-based materials allows Ford to minimize the amount of virgin materials used in the Focus Electric.”

So then, you are probably thinking that they are using recycled content to make plastic parts of the 2012 Ford Focus Electric. You would be right, pop bottles and milk jugs are just some of the materials recycled and used to make components of underbody shields, wheel arch liners and air cleaner assemblies. The process is part of Ford’s strategy to increase the use of resins. Why resin? The answer is simple; it helps reduce the use of oil-based plastics, which cuts down on oil consumption. This isn’t Ford’s only method; they also use soy-based foams (used in more than 20 Ford vehicles) in the seat cushions. The sound deadening is also sustainable and made from a material called Lignotock. The oddly named material is derived from 85 percent wood fibers. The material is lighter in weight and helps provide weight reduction for better….electric economy.

The car isn’t the only place Ford is looking to increase their sustainable practices. They are also introducing “innovative production processes” at their Wayne, Michigan plant. These processes include the three-wet paint process that applies all three coats of finish in sequence prior to oven curing. The result is a high-quality finish and a “significant reduction” in energy usage. Other interesting innovations include the Fumes-to-Fuel system that takes emissions from the plant’s paint shop and converts them into electricity.

Bottom line—sustainability isn’t just measured by the emissions coming out of the tailpipe, it is the big picture including the entire raw material and manufacturing process. Check out the greener 2012 Ford Focus Electric when they hit dealers late this year.

Be sure to check out the announcement from CES 2011


[Source: Ford]