More gears essentially make engines more efficient as different speeds, terrains and rates of acceleration put varying levels of strain on an engine. An engine turning at an RPM level that is wrong for the driving conditions is wasting energy.

Ford has already introduced six-speed gearboxes as standard, but says the 10-speed options will be deployed worldwide “within the next few years”.

The innovation is just one of many that Ford details in its 2015 Sustainability Report, released this week.

For example, electronic power steering cuts CO2 emissions by 3.5% compared to a hydraulic system, while killing the engine whenever the car comes to a halt also improves fuel economy by 3.5%.

The carmaker has also installed Aggressive Deceleration Fuel Shut-Off (ADFSO) on its North American vehicles. ADFSO shuts off fuel supply to the engine when a vehicle decelerates and automatically restarts it when power is needed, improving fuel economy by 1%.

These adjustments, along with weigh reductions and smaller vehicles, means that emissions from Ford’s European fleet fell by 18% between 2006 and 2014.

That number was also helped by the fact that Ford plug-in vehicles around the world have now racked up approximately 361 million miles, saving approximately 27 million tonnes of CO2.

Green manufacturing

The greening of Ford vehicles was matched in manufacturing operations, where CO2 emissions per vehicle fell by more than 22% between 2010 and 2014.

In the past year, energy consumption was reduced thanks to the installation of 25,000 new LED fixtures. These fixtures save 56 million kWh annually – enough to power more than 6,000 average-sized homes per year.

The firm also continued its rollout of energy and water meters and heat recovery systems.

Water & waste

Between 2013 and 2014 Ford reduced water use per vehicle by 1.25% and absolute water use by 3%.

The manufacturer has also to committed becoming landfill free where possible. Ford facilities globally sent approximately 39,000 metric tons of waste to landfill, a reduction of 21% from 2013.

Ford has also developed a product called REPREVE which converts plastic water bottles into seat lining. This material alone –used in the F150 truck- has diverted 5m plastic bottles form landfill alone.

Ford was ranked as the number one global green brand this year by Interbrand, with car makers claiming all top four positions.

Brad Allen

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