When buying a new truck, the main concern on the mind of most people are the obvious things – getting the right length bed, the right style of cab, an engine strong enough to haul everything you plan on hauling. Increasingly though, we’ve come across people who are looking for something more out of their truck. They want to know that the truck they buy is built from the ground up with an eco-conscious attitude. They want to know that their truck, in addition to being able to perform its job duties effectively and efficiently, is also in line with their values – respect for the planet, recycling as much and as often as possible, and a commitment to reduced carbon emissions.
When Ford designed this generation of F-150 and F-series trucks, they took these values into consideration, and the trucks that come off the line in Kansas City, Missouri and Dearborn, Michigan come standard with a number of eco-conscious materials.
The big update for the 2014 F-150 in terms of sustainably sourced materials is the addition of Rice Hulls. These are a byproduct of rice grain, and are normally discarded. Ford has partnered with RheTech, a Michigan based automotive supplier, and is planning on using plastics made from these rice hulls for use in the electrical harnesses of F-150 trucks, starting with the 2014 model year. Ford expects to use about 45,000 pounds of rice hulls in the first year alone!
Not only does this mean that Ford will be using replacing a petroleum-based plastic with a plant-based plastic (much like the compostable corn- or potato-based plastics you might have seen), a former waste by-product – which could very well have been headed for the landfill – is now going to be re-purposed and recycled for widespread consumer use.
The rice hulls are only the most recent eco-conscious addition to the F-series materials list. Many of the eco-friendly materials used in production of the 2013 model year of F-150s and other F-series trucks will still be in use in 2014. For example, Ford uses recycled cotton – enough to make about 10 pairs of jeans – as carpet insulation and as a sound-absorbing material. They also use soybeans for seat cushions, recycled tires for the under-body shields, post-industrial plastics for interior materials (like the center console), and recycled soda bottles and other plastic bottles for wheel linings and shields. That’s in every truck!
Many of these materials have been chosen for more than just their sustainability. For example, the plastic bottles used for wheel linings are actually a lighter material than the traditional injection-molded parts, which means that they actually contribute to the quiet ride of the F-150.
3.5L EcoBoost Engine
Ford will also continue to offer the 3.5L EcoBoost V6 Engine on 2014 Ford F-150s. This engine is perfect for someone who needs a lot of power, but doesn’t want to compromise their fuel economy. By using a combination of direct fuel injection and dual oil-cooled turbochargers, Ford has designed this engine to perform at the same level as a V8, while still providing the fuel economy of a V6. Here are some numbers, so you can see what I mean:
|3.5L EcoBoost V6||365 Horsepower||420 Ft-lbs of Torque||15 MPG-city/21-MPG Highway (4×4)|
|5.0L DOHC V8||360 Horsepower||380 Ft-lbs of Torque||14 MPG-city/19-MPG Highway (4×4)|
It’s not just a more eco-friendly decision to go with the 3.5L EcoBoost engine over the 5.0L DOHC V8 – the F-150 performs better too! Like in so many other arenas, the F-150 shows us that, often, the more environmentally-conscious decision is also the more practical decision.