Adding hybrid, diesel, electric and other alternative fuel options to lineups is one way for manufacturers to go green, but many are also looking for innovative ways to be environmentally responsible. Here are some of the ways car companies are focusing on sustainability.
Urban-dwellers looking for a sustainable everyday driver will love the 80 to 100 mile driving range on the diminutive, all-electric i3. The prolific use of recycled and natural materials, and an efficient production process gave the BMW i3 an ISO certification for its small environmental footprint. Many of the plastics used are derived from recycled material or renewable raw materials. The alloy components are made up of secondary aluminum, which is melted from production scrap rather than obtained from ore. Natural fibers and responsibly forested eucalyptus are used in the instrument and door panels, and leather is tanned with olive-leaf extract.
The Coca-Cola Company and Ford Motor Company are collaborating on an interior fabric made from the same renewable material used to produce Coca-Cola’s PlantBottle Technology™ packaging. Tested on a Ford Fusion Energi research vehicle on display at the LA Auto Show, the material would displace nearly four million pounds of petroleum-derived materials, and save the equivalent of 295,000 gallons of gasoline and 6,000 barrels of oil, if it was used on the majority of Ford models. Currently, select cloth-seat Fusion models use the equivalent of 38.9 plastic bottles, and about 31,250 soybeans in the foam seat cushions. Ford’s use of soy foam has reduced petroleum production by more than five million pounds and carbon dioxide emissions by 20 million pounds annually. Additionally, Ford’s EcoBoost technology is found on six vehicles in the lineup, and the company recently held EcoBoost Challenge events around the country so consumers could see how their vehicles match up against the competition. Check out the results on the EcoBoost website and enter for your chance to win $30,000 toward the purchase of a 2014 Ford.
Lexus boasts five hybrids in its luxury lineup, but its sustainability efforts extend to its manufacturing as well. Every Lexus manufacturing site has achieved Zero Landfill Status, meaning that any waste resulting from manufacture is recycled, repurposed or used to generate additional energy. The CT hybrid model is 90 percent recyclable, and the company’s goal is to make all vehicles 95 percent recyclable by 2015. Bamboo is gaining traction in Lexus components, including as a steering wheel in the GS 450h and speaker diaphragms in the CT 200h.
Tesla is making it easier for Model S owners to travel cross-country on all-electric power by installing Superchargers along well-traveled highways in North America. Designed for city to city travel, the Supercharging stations allow Tesla Model S electric vehicle drivers to travel for about three hours, take a 20 to 30 minute break, and get back on the road. Last year, Tesla opened the first Arizona Superchargers in Quartzsite, Buckeye, Holbrook, Kingman, and Yuma. A Flagstaff Supercharger, opened in March, supporting trips from New Mexico and Arizona to Nevada and California. It is also an integral component of their cross-country route, allowing Model S owners to travel from coast to coast for free.