Ford Putting Vegetables Into Vehicles… Again
Have you noticed the tomatoes in the back end of a Ford Mustang? What about the feeling of corn husks on your back as you drive your F-150? Ford is putting vegetables into its vehicles to improve sustainability and yielding surprising results you may never have noticed.
The company’s priority of innovating of sustainable vehicle materials was first lead by brand pioneer Henry Ford as he supervised prototype automobiles constructed of plastics made from slash pine fiber, straw, hemp, soybeans, corn, wheat, cotton and ramie starting in the 1940s.
As we learned at Further With Ford this June, modern scientists are using many of those same materials to reduce Ford’s carbon footprint during manufacturing and the impact their vehicles have on the Earth during production, the life of the vehicle and after the vehicle’s usable lifespan.
In many recent model year vehicles consumers can find door panels, seats, padding, cup holders and storage bins made from vegetables including tomatoes, rice hulls, wheat straw, coconut fiber, sunflowers, dandelions, coconuts, sugarcane and corn.
Ford is also continuing to experiment to find additional materials, especially natural rubber which is subject to extreme price fluctuations, ranging from $1 to $4 per pound. As the company’s attention has turned to find a more sustainable domestic rubber source they have experimented with guayule, dandelions, orange oil and soybean oil. Ford anticipates the company having an alternative rubber prototype within the next year.