With each new model, Ford has attempted to lighten their vehicles’ environmental impact. The 2008 Ford Escape was the first model to incorporate 100 percent post-industrial recycled plastic in the car’s interior. Since 2009, all Ford interiors are composed of at least 25 percent recycled content and the company has developed over 37 different recycled fabrics for interiors.
The Ford Focus B Electric Vehicle (EV) was on display and will be released next month. The car can get up to 100 miles on a single charge and with a 240 V charging station, a full charge can be obtained in three to four hours, half that of Ford’s competitors. In other words, for every hour charged the EV gains about 30 miles. It is expected that each full charge will cost consumers between two to three dollars, much less than a tank of gas.
Drivers can charge their cars at a normal 120 V outlet but that requires about twice as much time as a stronger outlet. As a solution, Ford has teamed up with Best Buy to offer consumers the option to install personal 240 V charging stations. The home unit cost $1,499 with a 30 percent rebate offer, which includes delivery and installation. Another intriguing option are solar panels that power charging. The “Drive Green for Life” option gives consumers the possibility to install panels sized specifically to power the Focus. The panels provide the car with enough energy to get around 12,000 miles a year and cost less than $10,000 after rebate.
While doubts linger about where EV drivers will be able to find stations while on the road, Charge Point America has targeted 19 initial markets where public charging stations will be installed. SAE is also developing nationwide charging standards that make ports universal to serve all EVs despite the make or model.
A common fear is that by switching to an electric vehicle, drivers sacrifice quick pick-up ability and engine power; however, the Focus’ instant torque gives the car zip and makes it fun to drive. The basic models costs $39,200 with an optional leather interior and two paint colors available at an additional price. It boasts 100 percent recycled Repreve yarn interior, a liquid heated and cooled lithium ion battery, rain sensor wipers, a navigation system and a nine speaker Sony audio system among other features.
If you’re not ready to fully commit to an EV or have longer distances to travel, the C-Max Energi may be a good option. Its combined fuel and electric power can get up to 500 miles. The hybrid engine gets over 41 miles per gallon and the electric engine can be powered overnight at a regular 120 V outlet. It is expected that most people will charge their cars overnight providing an additional money saver as “time of use rates” tend to be lower at night. The hybrid electric model is expected to be released in the next 12 months as well as the regular C-Max Hybrid for those not ready to make the leap to an EV of any kind.
The Ford models will continue to be made at their Michigan assembly plant but with the introduction of new technology, the plant will be the first in the world to simultaneously build hybrid, electric, gas and plug-in hybrids. Such options are exactly the green options SHFT hopes to offer consumers. Grenier stated, “For us, it’s about a shift in lifestyle and how you look at the world.” Together, SHFT and Ford will launch an innovative documentary series that creates content related to sustainability that will be shared across multiple platforms. They hope to inspire responsible purchasing decisions that account for the environment.
Images © Amanda Silvana Coen for Inhabitat