In the past I’ve test driven the Tesla Roadster at the LOHAS conference in Boulder and the smart fortwo in New York City. In hindsight I regret that I didn’t test drive the new Ford Focus Electric at the Green Festival. But as a Manhattanite I do everything via public transportation or on foot anyway. If I would be in the market for a stylish and energy-efficient car I would consider the new Ford C-Max Energi coming out this fall. It was showcased at the event and I have to say that the hybrid plug-in electric/gasoline car is very cool. What sets it apart from the C-MAX Hybrid is its plug-in capability. The C-MAX Energi has an external charge port and a larger lithium-ion battery. It can drive 21 miles on a full electric charge after which it switches automatically to a gas powered generator enabling it to run 480 miles on gas at 40 highway MPG.
Ford featured some installations that highlighted the use of sustainable materials in their cars. What caught my attention was a display that looked more like a farm stand than a disassembled car door. It had baskets with wheat straw, corn, soybeans, wood chips, and sweet potatoes to show how petroleum-based component are replaced with bio-based materials. For example door panels made from wheat straw replace polypropylene, armrest handles made from corn replace ABS, and upper armrest panels made from soy replace petroleum based foam. Wouldn’t it be cool if biodegradable cars would be next?