Ford Claims Energy Use Trimmed By 22 Percent

Ford claims it has managed to create major energy reductions in its manufacturing process, meaning 22 per cent less power is needed to make each vehicle.

These are the findings of the company’s own in-house Sustainability Report, which said the 22 per cent saving had been achieved over the last six years. The carmaker also pledged a further 25 percent reduction by 2016.

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image via Ford

The company said the reduction had come about through a number of energy-saving practices and equipment. At its assembly plant in Wayne, Mich., for example, employees use a “three-wet” paint application which cuts on electricity and CO2.

At the same plant, a new 500-kilowatt solar panel system has been installed to generate renewable energy used in the production of Ford vehicles such as the Focus and the Focus Electric.

According to the carmaker, this meant that the amount of power needed per vehicle had dropped by about 800 kilowatt-hours (kWh) – from 3,576 kWh in 2006 to 2,778 kWh last year. To put that in context, an average households in California or New York uses between 562 kWh and 799 kWh each month.

The company said its sustainability measures were not confined exclusively to energy reductions in the production process. The report also touted a number of environmental efforts undertaken by Ford.

These included: reducing landfill waste levels globally by 11.3 percent from 2010 to 2011; cutting CO2 emissions from global operations in 2011 by 8 percent on a per-vehicle basis compared with 2010; converting 163 tons of recovered paint solids into enough energy to power 20 residential homes for a year and reducing water use to 4.7 cubic meters per vehicle in the last year.

The company said it had also been working hard to make the materials used in its cars more sustainable. To spur this effort along the company now insists that in its new or redesigned vehicles at least 25 percent of the material used in the seat covers must come from post-industrial or post-consumer recycled content.

Paul Willis has been journalist for a decade. Starting out in Northern England, from where he hails, he worked as a reporter on regional papers before graduating to the cut-throat world of London print media. On the way he spent a year as a correspondent in East Africa, writing about election fraud, drought and an Ethiopian version of American Idol. Since moving to America three years ago he has worked as a freelancer, working for CNN.com and major newspapers in Britain, Australia and North America. He writes on subjects as diverse as travel, media ethics and human evolution. He lives in New York where, in spite of the car fumes and the sometimes eccentric driving habits of the yellow cabs, he rides his bike everywhere.