Of course, the Blue Oval has been tracking down renewable materials for component materials for a few years. Early last year, Ford said it would use materials from recycled plastic bottles from the 2012 Detroit Auto Show and Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas as part of seat supports for the Focus Electric. And in 2010, Ford was busy getting out the message that everything from blue jeans to discarded t-shirts to old cotton rags were going to be reused in the 2012 model-year Focus, specifically for soundproofing material and carpet backing. Ford said that year that its vehicles - like most of the cars in the US - were 85 percent recyclable by weight. Check out Lincoln's press release below.
DEARBORN, Mich., Dec. 18, 2013 – While many Lincoln MKX drivers may tie a tree to the top of their vehicle this time of year, 2014 will see the MKX crossover with tree-based components inside the vehicle.
A three-year collaboration between The Lincoln Motor Company, sustainable solutions pioneer Weyerhaeuser and auto parts supplier Johnson Controls has culminated in the creation of a tree-based, renewable alternative to fiberglass for use in auto parts.
Using tree-harvested natural fibers in place of traditional glass-based fibers, Weyerhaeuser created Cellulose Reinforced Polypropylene. The use of Cellulose Reinforced Polypropylene – lighter and more eco-friendly than fiberglass – in a production vehicle is slated for introduction on 2014 model year Lincoln MKX vehicles built early next year.
Cellulose Reinforced Polypropylene replaces the fiberglass material traditionally used in the floor console armrest substrate – a structural piece located within the center console armrest. Pieces made from CRP are roughly 6 percent lighter, and decrease the reliance on less-environmentally friendly fiberglass parts.
The use of Cellulose Reinforced Polypropylene, while relatively small in the current project, marks an advancement that has the potential to play a more impactful role in the future, explained Ellen Lee, plastics research technical expert for Ford Motor Company.
"If we transfer its use to larger parts, it could really benefit the vehicle weight, which benefits fuel economy," Lee said. "Cellulose has good reinforcement, so we looked at fiberglass-reinforced materials for this project."
Cellulose Reinforced Polypropylene has been used on Ford Motor Company prototype vehicles in the past, but its use on Lincoln MKX marks its first application on a production vehicle.
"Today's Lincoln customer is someone who appreciates luxury but it has to have meaning in the larger picture," said Dan Brady, Lincoln consumer marketing manager. "They want to be proud of their car for what it does for them but a sustainability that provides something more. This customer is about standing apart but not out, meaning the brand is right for them because of stunning design but carries a personal bonus such as an environmentally impactful element."
Brady says the added element of eco-friendly is unique and provides context to the purchase of a luxury item.
MKX is built at Oakville Assembly Complex in Oakville, Ontario, Canada.
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The Lincoln Motor Company is the luxury automotive brand of Ford Motor Company, committed to creating compelling vehicles with an exceptional ownership experience to match. Lincoln is in the process of introducing four all-new vehicles by 2016. For more information about Lincoln, please visit media.lincoln.com or www.lincoln.com. Follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/lincoln.