Ford Motor Co. and the Avis Budget Group are two firms engaged in creating long-term “sustainability” strategies designed to lessen the overall impact of motor vehicles on the environment.
Ford said it is mapping out near- and long-term technological changes it can make to its entire product lineup to improve fuel economy, reduce pollution, address climate change, and bolster energy security. This road map will guide the company through 2020.
The cornerstones include a new generation of fuel- saving, turbo-charged gasoline direct injection engines offered in high volumes on lighter Ford vehicles, weight reductions of 250 to 750 lbs., new fuel-saving transmissions, advanced electric power steering, aerodynamic improvements, plus additional hybrid offerings and diesel engines introduced on light-duty vehicles.
“While we are implementing our near-, mid- and long-term plans, we are continuing to achieve efficiencies throughout the vehicle in areas that can quickly lead to fuel economy improvements today,” noted Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s group vp for global product development. “We continue to make improvements in what we call the ‘1%’ areas - items such as reducing wind drag, eliminating engine-driven power steering pumps and switching to low-friction engine oil. Collectively, these small improvements deliver significant fuel economy gains for our customers.”
One example of a “1%” area is the Ford F-250 Super Duty, where design teams have been able to increase fuel efficiency by more than 1 mpg simply by reducing aerodynamic drag and optimizing gearing, said Kuzak.
Meanwhile, the Avis Budget Group – one of the largest rental car companies in the U.S. – is creating a formal environmental management system (EMS) for certain major U.S. locations. The system is being designed to measure and manage environmental aspects of its operations in accordance with International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14001 guidelines.
Avis Budget Group is working with Geomatrix Consultants, an international environmental engineering and consulting firm, to help measure the environmental aspects of Avis and Budget vehicle rental operations, as well as establish the company's EMS plan to manage these aspects on an ongoing basis.
The EMS plan will cover air, water and land quality issues, landfill contributions, resource depletion and conservation, solid/liquid waste, odor/noise emissions and other environmental concerns, said Ronald Nelson, the company’s chairman & CEO. Such “green efforts” include: All Avis and Budget car washes recycling and reusing 80% of their wastewater; recycling used motor oil, oil filters, parts and brake cleaner fluids; and all diesel engine-powered airport shuttle buses using clean diesel technology.
Nelson also said the company continues to bring high fuel efficiency and low-emission vehicles to its fleet as part of its EMS strategy. It will add 2,500 gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles in three different car classes to its fleet this year: the compact Toyota Prius, full-size Nissan Altima, and small SUV Ford Escape.
“Being able to offer vehicles with both high fuel efficiency and low vehicle emissions is as important to responding to our customers' needs as offering larger vehicles that can accommodate groups of passengers, cargo or any type of vehicle rental requirement,” said Nelson. “As customer demand grows for hybrids, we will add more to our fleet, in more locations, and in more car classes.”