Next Ford Escape to use 25 recycled 20-ounce plastic bottles in the carpeting

Article by Christian Andrei, on October 24, 2011

Ford is using plastic beverage bottles for the carpeting of its all-new Ford Escape utility vehicle. Each vehicle uses up 25 20-ounce plastic bottles. Laura Sinclair, a materials engineer for Ford, said that what the company is achieving is keeping a lot of plastic out of landfills. But before these plastic bottles are used, they have to pass extensive durability tests.

One of the things that Ford’s team will be looking out for is “chalking” – also known as dusting -- which is when fibers degrade and mash themselves in to create a white residue as they break apart.

This leads to a hole in the carpet. Sinclair explained that one of the initial signs of wear is discoloration. Ford uses a Taber 5150 for the tests. This device looks a lot like a record player. In the middle, a carpet sample the size of a DVD is placed. The device simulates accelerated wear by spinning while two weights rub the sample. Sinclair said that the tests are done nearly daily and in 10-15 minutes, it simulates five or more years of usage.

“The polyester fibers created from pop bottles make up a nonwoven carpet material,” said Laura Sinclair, a materials engineer for Ford. “So think of it like when you make spaghetti – everything is intermixed. If you have more fibers running on each other – rather than what’s underneath, which can be more abrasive – that helps reduce wear.”

New Ford Escape gives SUV customers the flexibility and luggage space that they want on top of its sports-inspired styling.

Ford’s design executive director of Europe, Asia Pacific and Africa Martin Smith says that the Escape’s sporty vibe is deliberate as they wanted to give the vehicle the appearance of a swimmer or a runner with the new body, even putting in defined muscles to help convey energy and movement.

Escape will be sold as the Ford Escape in North American markets. It will be unveiled later with a Kuga badge in many other markets around the globe.

The sleeker design means that function follows form. The design also gives you more cargo space that beats the old Ford Escape, totaling 68.1 cubic feet behind the first row and another 34.3 cubic feet after the second row. The new Kuga will also be longer than the current Escape, giving it more luggage space.

Seats on the new Escape represent the latest from Ford. It has added comfort with less weight. It is 3 pounds lighter yet it now sports a power recline, and power lumbar support added to the typical six way adjustability of the old seats. The sporty seat has a distinct style for the stitches and now has high bolsters.

Meanwhile, the head restraint at the front gives you four-way adjustability. The head restraints and the seats at the back have also been improved to make it easier to fold and are now made from soy-based foam.

Topics: ford, ford escape

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