Bill Ford, Ford Motor’s executive chairman, declared a “clean revolution” back in 1999. His great-grandfather’s company was the first American carmaker to bring a hybrid to market—a version of the Ford Escape, in 2004. Now Ford is experimenting with an industry first: changing the body of its monumentally popular F-150 pickup (the bestselling vehicle in the U.S. for more than three decades and counting) to aluminum from steel. The change shaves 700 pounds off the weight of each truck and gives it the lowest environmental impact of any pickup, after considering energy spent in manufacturing and the lifetime use of the vehicle, reports the Automotive Science Group. When compared with the 2014 model, says ASG, the new F-150s—which can be outfitted with a remarkably efficient engine—should save more than 30 billion pounds of greenhouse-gas emissions over their lifetimes, based on sales to date. And drivers seem to be falling in love with the truck too. In July alone, 66,300 F-series trucks flew off the lot. Industry experts say that other truckmakers, including GM, are weighing a similar move to aluminum alloys. But for now Ford is out front and alone. Marvels one official at the U.S. EPA: The F-150 is already close to meeting the nation’s newly strict mileage standards … for 2025.
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