Who knew that a little piece of plastic could do so much? The Ford Fusion Hybrid, like all other vehicles, makes use of plastics in many parts of the car, from bumper covers to dash overlays, as well as switch housings.
When plastics are in full view of the driver, finish becomes an important aspect of their design. In order to give a finished look and feel to the power window switch housing and bezel, Ford Motor Company used a clear coat paint to finish the plastic pieces. Each year, this one step adds tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.
First, the plastic parts were molded in Vicksburg, MI, and then they were shipped by truck 64 miles to Grand Rapids, MI, to be painted. Finally, the finished clear-coated plastic parts are shipped to the assembly plant. A new resin developed by BASF eliminates the paint step by providing a high-sheen finish right when the plastic parts are molded.
Plastic parts molded with this new BASF resin are shipped directly from the molder to the assembly plant. By skipping the paint step, nearly 3,000 gallons of diesel fuel and 60,000 pounds of carbon dioxide are eliminated from the atmosphere.
The Ford Fusion Hybrid is one of the most fuel efficient vehicles on the road, and at 47 mpg, thousands of pounds of carbon dioxide never make it into the atmosphere. Tailpipe emissions are just one side of the coin, though, and by addressing simple things like a materials change, Ford can eliminate carbon dioxide emissions during the manufacture of the Ford Fusion Hybrid as well.
As a matter of fact, the Ford Fusion Hybrid ranked only just behind Toyota Prius Plug-In and Prius in the midsize car segment of the the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy [ACEEE] Green Book.