Eco Warriors

Ford partnering with McDonalds to recycle coffee beans, create car parts with them

Soon, you'll be able to drive away from McDonald's with your coffee in a Ford car made from the fast food giant's leftovers.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

I'm lovin' it! Ford Motor Company and McDonald's are teaming up to recycle the millions of pounds of coffee chaff leftover from the fast food giant's food service. The automaker and its suppliers will use the chaff in the creation of various auto parts, including headlamp housings and hood components.

The chaff is the skin of the coffee bean that naturally comes off during the roasting process. The companies found that they could convert the chaff info a durable material that can be used to safely reinforce vehicle parts.

Ford Motor Company McDonald's Ford Motor Company and McDonald's will soon be giving vehicles a caffeine boost by using part of a familiar staple in the morning routine, coffee beans, in vehicle parts such as headlamp housing.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

This isn't the first time that Ford has used recycled materials in their vehicles. A few years ago the company was touting its use of tomato skins and soy in the Ford Mustang.

How does it work? The chaff is heated to high temperatures under low oxygen conditions. Then plastic and other additives are added in turning the product into pellets. Those pellets are then formed into various shapes.

The new components created using the chaff-based compound are 20 percent lighter and require 25 percent less energy during the molding process.

"McDonald's commitment to innovation was impressive to us and matched our own forward-thinking vision and action for sustainability," said Debbie Mielewski, Ford senior technical leader, sustainability and emerging materials research team. "This has been a priority for Ford for over 20 years, and this is an example of jump starting the closed-loop economy, where different industries work together and exchange materials that otherwise would be side or waste products."

McDonald's is expected to direct a significant portion of its coffee chaff in North America to Ford to be incorporated into vehicle parts. Other involved companies include Varroc Lighting Systems, which supplies the headlamps, and Competitive Green Technologies, the processor of the coffee chaff.

"Like McDonald's, Ford is committed to minimizing waste and we're always looking for innovative ways to further that goal," said Ian Olson, senior director, global sustainability, McDonald's. "By finding a way to use coffee chaff as a resource, we are elevating how companies together can increase participation in the closed-loop economy."

They're not stopping there. McDonald's and Ford are continuing to find new ways to collaboratively use waste as a resource, while furthering their respective sustainability goals.

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Tesla claims that its Cybertruck will go into production this year.

Photo courtesy of Tesla, Inc.

In a presentation to investors this morning, Ford Motor Company revealed that it has received 70,000 reservations for its just-debuted F-150 Lightning electric truck. Its on-paper chief rival, the Tesla Cybertruck, has over one million according to data acquired by Finbold. Rivian, who is nearly ready to start production of its R1T all-electric truck, has over 30,000 reservations, according to reporting by InsideEVs.

Reservations are not orders or sales though they do serve as an indicator of the buying public's enthusiasm for a new model. More and more automakers are switching to online reservations to gauge buyer interest, determine proper product mix, and stay in touch with clients on a more personal level. Hyundai did this with the 2022 Tucson and Ford has successfully used it to launch the Mustang Mach-E.


2022 Ford F-150 Lightning The 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning has an all-electric powertrain in its familiar body. Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Tesla opened reservations for the Cybertruck immediately following its debut around the same time as the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show where the Mustang Mach-E also debuted. Last July, Finbold revealed that their data showed that there were around 650,000 reservations. In 2018 and 2019 Tesla produced 612,120 vehicles.

Finbold's fresh research indicates that as of May 25, 2021, estimated Cybertruck reservations had reached 1.08 million. That number is more than the 866,750 total vehicles delivered by Tesla in two years between 2019 and 2020.

Though construction at the future home of the Cybertruck, Tesla's Austin, Texas plant, is ongoing, Tesla no longer features the Cybertruck alongside its existing models. The truck's homepage is currently housed in a "see more" style hamburger menu as a singular link alongside the Roadster and Semi. The Cybertruck was originally slated to begin production later this year.

The F-150 Lightning is expected to reach consumers ahead of the Tesla Cybertruck despite the fact that the Cybertruck was unveiled years ahead of the F-Series model. Both have fully electric powertrains. Ford will also offer the electric truck in a fleet version.

Ford has given more specifics about the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning than Tesla has about the Cybertruck. It will look much like a traditional F-150 but have an electric powertrain that gives it a maximum of 563 horsepower and 773 pound-feet of torque. The truck is being built to be capable of towing though doing so will likely decrease the truck's 300-mile maximum range considerably.

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The Ford F-150 Lightning is the company’s first all-electric pickup truck

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The day is finally here. Ford has just taken the wraps off its hotly anticipated F-150 Lightning full-size electric pickup truck. The electrified pickup will be the most powerful F-150 ever made, and will offer buyers a unique set of features thanks to its battery packs and electric powertrain.

The Lightning will come packing 563 horsepower and 773 pound-feet of torque, which will provide a zero to 60 mph time in the mid-four-second range and standard four-wheel drive. Ford is targeting a payload capacity of 2,000 pounds in standard-range models with 18-inch wheels and a max tow rating of 10,000 pound for models with an extended-range battery and Max Trailer Tow Package. All of that in a truck that will have a 300-mile driving range on a single charge, a giant frunk (front trunk), and the ability to act as a generator with enough juice to power a home.

Inside, the F-150 Lightning will feature a 15.5-inch center touchscreen running Ford's SYNC 4A infotainment software. Beyond the staples such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the system is designed to adapt to driver behavior and can provide in-depth information on how the truck is performing at any given moment. Ford says that it will continue to improve the system and add new features via over-the-air (OTA) updates, which may prolong the new truck's lifecycle as new functions become available.

2022 Ford F-150 Lightning The F-150 Lightning is designed to be able to handle worksite tasks.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Compay

Ford says it tested the new truck in punishing conditions for towing capability, hot and cold temperature resistance, and for safety in collisions. The F-150 Lightning carries a liquid cooling system, and its battery is contained within a waterproof casing that sits inside a crash-absorption protector. The truck's powertrain layout is designed to manage heat distribution across the vehicle to allow it to perform in harsh temperatures.

2022 Ford F-150 Lightning There are a few differences between the interior of the Lightning and other F-150s, but not many.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

When it's time to charge, the Lightning will feature an exclusive 80-amp charge station that uses the truck's dual onboard chargers to replenish battery power more quickly at home. Ford says the system will allow the Lightning to add an average of 30 miles of range per charging hour, and notes that an extended-range version of the truck can charge completely from 15 percent battery in around eight hours. Out in the wild, the F-150 Lightning's infotainment system will help drivers plan their routes to reach charging stations while taking weather, traffic, and payload into consideration. The Lightning, like the Ford Mustang Mach-E before it, can take advantage of the FordPass network, which includes over 16,000 charging stations across the country.

2022 Ford F-150 Lightning The F-150 Lightning has the ability to tow 10,000 pounds.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The Ford F-150 Lightning will begin hitting dealers' lots in spring 2022. The truck will be offered in four trim levels and two battery options, and will be sold at Ford's 2,300-plus EV-certified dealers in the U.S. The Blue Oval will offer a commercial version of the Lightning with a starting price of $39,974 and the more comfortable mid-range XLT model will start at $52,974. Both prices are before any federal or state incentives are applied.

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