COLOGNE/BERLIN, Germany – Whether it’s the whoosh of blades from two recently-installed wind turbines at Ford’s Genk Plant in Belgium, or the near-silent propulsion of Ford’s electrified vehicles featured this week at the Michelin Challenge Bibendum in Berlin, Ford’s commitment to reducing CO2 is coming through loud and clear.
Since 2000, Ford has reduced its global operational energy use by 30 per cent and CO2 emissions from its facilities by 39 per cent.
The Ford Cologne Plant in Germany and Ford Technical Centres in Dunton, UK, and Cologne-Merkenich, Germany, rely heavily on renewable power from hydro-power plants in Norway and Sweden, while Ford’s Technical Centre in Merkenich is heated by steam power provided by RheinEnergie. The actions together reduce annual CO2 emissions by 190,000 tonnes.
The latest example of Ford’s CO2 initiative is the Genk Plant in Belgium. Energy provider Electrabel now provides all electricity from renewable sources including two gigantic wind turbines, each with a height of 150 metres. Each unit has an output of two megawatts of power, enough to power 2,500 private homes. The wind turbines deliver a significant part of the electrical power needed at the Genk Plant, production home of the Mondeo, S-MAX and Galaxy models, with the remaining energy required also coming from renewable energy sources. Combined, this equates to a saving of 40,000 tonnes of CO2 every year.
Ford’s Dagenham Diesel Centre in the UK meanwhile became the world’s first automotive plant to meet all of the electricity needs for its assembly line from two giant on-site turbines back in 2004. Following the installation of the 1.4/1.6-litre Duratorq TDCi engine production line, a new three-bladed turbine, provided by Ecotricity, will be commissioned in August 2011 to produce two megawatts of electricity. With blades the same span as the wings of a Boeing 757, this new turbine will enable the assembly plant to remain 100 per cent powered by wind-generated electricity.
It’s not just Ford plants that are benefitting from reduced CO2 emissions though, as attendees at the Michelin Challenge Bibendum this week are discovering. Ford’s customer-focused electrification strategy will deliver five new electrified vehicles launched by 2013, providing low-emission solutions aimed at satisfying all needs. Those vehicles include:
- The Transit Connect Electric, which debuts in Europe this summer
- The Focus Electric, which goes on sale next year
- The C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid, which reach dealerships in 2013.
- An additional yet-to-be-revealed hybrid-electric vehicle coming to market in 2013
At Challenge Bibendum, attendees were able to test the technology in the Fusion Hybrid, which is already on the market in US, and the Escape Plug-In Hybrid Prototype, and two Transit Connect Electric pure battery vehicles.
The award-winning Fusion Hybrid affords drivers leading efficiency figures in city driving while the plug-in hybrid version of the Escape, which is currently being utilised in Ford’s demonstration fleet in the US, offers an improved range of pure electric driving. Additionally, the plug-in hybrid’s internal combustion engine is able to run on E85, a blend of up to 85 per cent bioethanol and 15 per cent petrol.
Norwegian Post has already ordered 20 Transit Connect Electric vehicles, noting the use of these zero-emission commercial vehicles is an important step in its goal of reducing 150,000 tonnes of CO2 annually. Those at Challenge Bibendum found that zero emissions does not mean compromised performance, though, with Transit Connect Electric capable of a 120km/h (75mph) top speed, a range of 130km/ 80 miles, a cargo volume of 3.8 m3 and a payload of 500 kg.
Ford vehicles already are among the most environmentally efficient on the road. The latest generation of Duratorq TDCi diesel engines offers impressive performance while maintaining excellent economy. Using a 1.6-litre TDCi engine, the Fiesta ECOnetic offers a combined fuel economy of just 3.6l/100km (78.5mpg) with exceptionally low CO2 emissions of 95g/km.
A key aspect of Ford’s sustainability strategy is the EcoBoost turbocharged petrol engine line-up. With direct injection, variable valve timing and turbocharging technology, they deliver the performance of a larger engine with the fuel economy and lower CO2 benefits of a smaller engine. In short; more power, less fuel. The clever technology also allows for a broader spread of torque, which significantly helps the driving pleasure for performance enthusiasts, and equally for those attracted by the lower running costs.
On some models, the economical engines are coupled with further fuel saving technologies such as Ford Auto-Start-Stop – which automatically shuts down the engine when idling – and the Active Grille Shutter, which optimises aerodynamics by using vents to control airflow through the grille to the cooling system and engine compartment, reducing aerodynamic drag and cutting CO2 emissions by up to 2 per cent.
With highly efficient vehicles available today and this insight into the company’s latest developments and future technologies, Ford demonstrates its commitment to staying at the forefront of low CO2 solutions.
Ford’s Continuing CO2 Reduction Strategy
- Ford continues to look into all possible ways to further reduce the carbon footprint of its manufacturing locations across Europe and the United States
- Ford piloted a Fumes-to-Fuel system at the Dearborn (Michigan, USA) Truck Plant – the process creates electricity from fumes created by the painting process – Fumes-to-Fuel is utilized in plants in the US and Canada
- Michigan Assembly Plant will install a 500Kw photovoltaic electricity system – renewable energy created by the solar energy system will help power production of Ford’s all-new Focus and Focus Electric cars, as well as its next-generation HEVs and PHEVs
- Electricity from another source – the sun – has for many years helped to power Ford’s Bridgend engine plant in Wales with its roof-mounted solar/photovoltaic panels