Ford Goes Green-With Beige & Other Fabric Colors

Although there were some eyebrows raised on the foreheads of environmentalists when Bill Ford’s bullishness of the number of hybrids that the company would be producing was put on a back burner with E85 coming to the fore, Ford Motor deserves credit for rolling out what the company thinks is the first U.S. application of 100% recycled fabric seating surfaces for the 2008 Escape—and Escape Hybrid.

Although there were some eyebrows raised on the foreheads of environmentalists when Bill Ford’s bullishness of the number of hybrids that the company would be producing was put on a back burner with E85 coming to the fore, Ford Motor deserves credit for rolling out what the company thinks is the first U.S. application of 100% recycled fabric seating surfaces for the 2008 Escape—and Escape Hybrid. The material is based on postindustrial waste, or materials that were intended for retail use (e.g., for soda bottles or for polyester fabrics) but didn’t make it. Ford worked with InterfaceFABRIC Inc. (Atlanta; www.interfaceinc.com) on developing the material. One notable aspect of this material is that the company has an internal target of introducing seating fabrics with 25% recycled content in production by 2009. “Given the time and effort required to source, design and validate a new seat fabric, it’s a significant achievement to beat both our recycled-content target and our calendar deadline,” says Lisa Nicol, a designer for Ford Color and Materials-Sustainability. What does this material mean environmentally? The people at InterfaceFABRIC estimate that, compared with using virgin material, this will save, on an annual basis, 600,000 gal. of water, 1.8-million lb. of CO2 equivalents, and the equivalent of more than 7-million kW hours of electricity. Still, it is a very visible part of an interior. Nicol notes, “The highest compliment we can get is that the new fabric doesn’t look like it’s recycled."