What are Ford’s F-Series bakkies made of?

What are Ford's F-Series bakkies made of?

Rice hulls, soybeans and post-industrial recycled cotton … These are the things of which Ford’s F-Series bakkies are made.

“The 2014 F-Series exemplifies our continued efforts to use recycled content in our vehicles,” says John Viera, Ford’s global director of sustainability and vehicle environmental matters. “We can have a greater impact in this case because of the size and sales volume of this product.”

With the F-Series being America’s best-selling bakkie for the past 36 years – averaging more than 650 000 sales per year – the environmental impact of it being as sustainable as possible adds up fast.

Ford is using plastic, reinforced with rice hulls (a by-product of rice grain) in an electrical harness in the 2014 F-150. This replaces a talc-based reinforcement in a polypropylene composite made by RheTech – an American automotive supplier based in Detroit.

“We developed this resin specifically for Ford over the last three years, while working closely with the auto maker in all phases of material qualification,” says David Preston, director of business development for RheTech. “The whole process has been a success and very rewarding for both Ford and RheTech. We can now add yet another natural fibre-based product to our RheVision line.”

The F-Series already features recycled cotton, which is used as carpet insulation and a sound absorber. Soybeans are used to make seat cushions, seat backs and head rests and recycled tyres are used to make shields. Some underbody covers for Ford’s F-150 series are made from thermoplastic material (post-consumer recycled polypropylene) and a lightweight fibre (derived from recycled plastic bottles) is used for the wheel liners and shields.

“Fuel economy is a top priority when it comes to Ford’s environmental impact,” says Carrie Majeske, Ford’s product sustainability manager. “But we also recognise the tremendous impact that can be made by using sustainable materials inside our cars, utilities and trucks.”

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