Drivers of the all-new Ford Escape may be surprised to find out there is a plant inside the door.

Ford Motor Company announced it has started using oil from a tropical plant called Kenaf, to replace some of the petroleum-based oil that used to appear in door bolsters.

Specifically, Ford will be incorporating Kenaf into the door bolsters of the all-new Escape, saving weight and energy.Ford uses Kenaf Plant
Kenaf Plant Makes the All-New Escape Greener: Kenaf plant makes the all-new Escape greener and a trip to the pump cheaper. (01/26/2012)

A little more on Kenaf… Kenaf is a tropical plant that looks similar to bamboo and is related to cotton. It is also used in eco-friendly cosmetics and the fiber is an alternative to wood for paper and cardboard.

· Kenaf, a tropical plant related to cotton and okra plants, is being used to replace oil-based materials in the doors of the all-new Ford Escape

· Use of this eco-friendly material is anticipated to offset 300,000 pounds of oil-based resin annually in North America

· Kenaf reduces the weight of the door bolsters by 25 percent and improves fuel economy

· Kenaf is also used in cosmetics and kenaf fiber is an alternative to wood to make paper and cardboard; its leaves are edible

“Kenaf and the other renewable materials in the Escape have made the vehicle more environmentally friendly and fuel efficient,” said Laura Sinclair, materials engineer for Escape.

Kenaf oil is used in cosmetics and kenaf fiber is used as an alternative to wood in the production of paper. The upper leaves and shoots of the plant are edible.

The kenaf is combined with polypropylene in a 50-50 mixture inside the door of the Escape. International Automotive Components (IAC) manufactures the door bolsters in Greencastle, Ind.

Kenaf part of a greener Escape

The new Escape, which will be available to customers this spring, features several eco-friendly components in addition to the kenaf inside the doors.

Materials that are recycled, renewable, and that reduce impact on the environment include soy foam in the seats and head restraints; plastic bottles and other post-consumer and post-industrial materials in the carpeting; climate control gaskets made from recycled tires; and more than 10 pounds of scrap cotton from the making of denim jeans.

Wide use of more environmentally friendly, recycled and recyclable materials complements the projected best-in-class fuel economy of the all-new Ford Escape, further boosting the vehicle’s environmentally responsible credentials. The new Escape meets the USCAR Vehicle Recycling Partnership goal that 85 percent of the vehicle is recyclable.

Source: Ford Motor Company, DEARBORN, Mich., Jan. 26, 2012