Published on June 25th, 2014 | by Tina Casey6
All New 2015 Ford Edge Crosses Over Into Green Turf
We’re spending a couple of days over in Michigan with the folks at Ford, which has just rolled out the all new 2015 Ford Edge crossover SUV. The Edge has been a huge hit for Ford since it was introduced in 2006 so there are high expectations for the new edition, as in, what’s left to improve upon?
The other question you might be asking yourself is why CleanTechnica has suddenly taken up an interest in gasmobiles, of which the Edge is one. There are a couple of answers to that, one being the load of fuel efficiency goodies that Ford has piled onto the new Edge. Another is the emergence of sustainably sourced liquid biofuels, which we’ll get to in a minute.
There’s also a third reason that relates to our interest in electric vehicles, including fuel cell EVs, but we’ll save that for the end.
The All New 2015 Ford Edge
Ford has given the 2015 Edge a top-to-bottom makeover, which includes several major improvements for fuel efficiency. We’ll call them the low hanging fruit in terms of Ford’s how-to-improve-on-perfection dilemma, since they could have been accomplished without requiring any particularly visible changes from earlier models.
Major items among the long list of fuel efficiency tweaks that Ford has provided include the stepped-up EcoBoost engine, which we covered back in December when Ford rolled it out. There is also stop-start technology, and since we got a chance to test drive a Ford with stop-start in December we can personally testify that you can’t feel a thing when the engine shuts on and off, except we did feel that satisfied feeling you get when you know you’re not wasting gas, spewing fumes, and adding wear and tear on your engine while in idle.
For a complete rundown of the enhancements go ahead and visit Ford online, they’ll be happy to oblige.
Sustainable Biofuel For Your Ford Gasmobile
Given the potential advantages of electric vehicles in terms of carbon management it’s tempting imagine all-electric vehicles taking over the entire global market, but to our way of thinking the sustainable automotive world of the future will be one that accommodates energy diversity.
For that reason, we’re thinking that higher-efficiency, lower-emission liquid fuel vehicles like the 2015 Ford Edge are likely here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future. Ford is in fact banking on substantial growth worldwide in the years to come, as well continued growth here in North America.
With that in mind, let’s digress a bit and consider that the US Navy has joined the Agriculture Department’s Farm-to-Fleet initiative, which builds on earlier biofuel partnerships with the Energy Department and the Interior Department. It’s aimed at pushing next-generation liquid biofuels into the competitive marketplace. Here’s the latest development:
…the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Navy’s joint “Farm-to-Fleet” venture will now make biofuel blends part of regular, operational fuel purchase and use by the military.
Today’s announcement marks the first time alternative fuels such as advanced drop-in biofuels will be available for purchase through regular procurement practices. It lowers barriers for alternative domestic fuel suppliers to do business with DOD. Preliminary indications from the Defense Production Act Title III Advanced Drop-in Biofuels Production Project are that drop-in biofuels will be available for less than $4 per gallon by 2016, making them competitive with traditional sources of fuel.
The Navy is already experimenting with biofuel from algae, waste grease, and even chicken fat, as well as non-food crops that don’t carry the same environmental baggage that corn ethanol and other conventional biofuel sources have been lugging around.
With a fuel-hungry partner like the US Department of Defense pushing the market, there is at least some potential for sustainably sourced liquid biofuel to satisfy the global liquid fuel vehicle sector, in the context of a more diversified auto market that includes a healthy dose of EVs.
Which Came First, The EV Or The Edge?
One thing about the 2015 Ford Edge rollout that really interested us was the twin emphasis on technology and emotion.
We’re going to save some of the detail for a later post, but in multiple presentations Ford officials stayed on message, and the message was that along with great design value Ford customers are looking for advanced technology and an emotional connection to the driving experience.
That personal connection was emphasized in the last presentation of the day by Kenneth Cole (yes, we were surprised, too). The designer and AIDS activist first famous for footwear capped off a witty and insightful dinnertime commentary by noting that thanks to the emergence of personal branding via social media, the mission of a commercial brand today is not to compel people to identify themselves with it, but to ask people to invite it into their personal brand.
For the 2015 Ford Edge, this translates into some rather non-automotive observations about how Edge owners and potential buyers see themselves, especially in terms of the interior design, punctuated frequently by words like inspiration, serenity, and sanctuary.
In a nutshell, the new Edge is aimed at a tech-savvy, affluent, aspirational, educated market, which is pretty much the same personal-brand target that Tesla Motors is hitting on.
So naturally, we were wondering if that means an EV version of Edge is hovering somewhere in the near future.
If you were wondering the same thing, don’t get your hopes up too high, because Ford officials were pretty clear that it doesn’t.
However, assuming that the dream of sustainable biofuels becomes a reality, the 2015 Ford Edge has a good chance of demonstrating that the EV aesthetic can translate back over into liquid fuel vehicle technology, so stay tuned.
Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.