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Ford Unveils An Ecoboost Concept Sleigh For Santa

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On: Mon, Dec 26, 2011 at 10:02AM | By: Chris Weiss

Ford Unveils An Ecoboost Concept Sleigh For Santa

In a whimsical bit of holiday merriment, Ford introduced a concept sleigh that it thinks can save Santa a lot of money. The company's Ecoboost Sleigh uses a tiny, 1.0-liter Ecoboost engine to deliver some serious fuel savings to the jolly, old guy.

Personally, I would have thought that traveling by way of reindeer was already about as green as you can be, but according to Ford, Santa's herd puts out some 214,670 tons of CO2-equivalent emissions a year. I was going to challenge that assessment, but then realized I'd be arguing about a fanciful concept created for a fictional character. Plus Ford actually provides a pretty thorough breakdown of its numbers.

The one part of Ford's assessment that's hard to argue with is that the Ecoboost sleigh could save Santa some money. Ford estimates Santa's annual journey of benevolence at 200,237,360 km (124,421,727 miles). While he doesn't have to gas up his reindeer, he does have to feed them at a cost that Ford puts at £122 million ($190 million) worth of carrots. That's before you even consider vet bills and other upkeep costs.

Comparatively, with a 1.0-liter three-cylinder EcoBoost powering the sleigh, Ford reckons that Santa’s fuel costs would decrease by 90% to just £12 million ($18.7 million). That's a whole lot of extra coin for Santa to invest into his toy-building infrastructure--children everywhere can rejoice.

In addition fuel savings, Santa gets a ride that's decidedly more stylish than his traditional sleigh. Ford's version shares its styling with the Evos concept it debuted earlier this year in Frankfurt. The sleigh also includes some of Ford's latest features like the Sync infotainment system and a specially modified version of EcoMode that lights up branches of a Christmas tree as Santa travels more efficiently.

I almost included a quote from "Mrs. Claus," but you have to draw a line somewhere. Here's the whole press release where you can see all the fun, silly details:



  • Ford helps Santa Claus “go green” – slashing his carbon footprint – with concept sleigh design
  • Retiring reindeer and opting for Ford’s sleigh powered by new 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine, would save Santa 191,843 tonnes of CO2 and £110 million on fuel costs

Lapland, Finland, 23 December 2011 – Leading car company Ford is offering to make it a greener Christmas with a concept sleigh that would dramatically downsize Santa’s carbon footprint.

Santa’s new ride, packed with cutting-edge Ford technology, would allow Rudolph and friends to enjoy a well-deserved retirement while Santa makes his annual deliveries with style in an environmentally friendly new sleigh.

“They may look cute, but Santa’s team of nine reindeer1 create a staggering 214,670 tons of CO2 equivalent emissions each year, so something had to be done to help him re-discover his greener roots2,” said Ford car designer Paul Wraith.

The benefits of switching to the concept sleigh go beyond the environmental. Travelling such huge distances – some 200,237,360 km – means Santa currently spends in excess of £122 million on carrots to fuel his reindeer each year. The impressive fuel efficiency of the 1 litre EcoBoost would reduce Santa’s fuel costs by 90% to just £12 million.

Whilst Santa himself was unavailable for comment, Mrs Claus explained: “I am not looking forward to telling Donner and Blitzen the news, but the polar bears in the North Pole will certainly welcome the Ford EcoBoost-powered sleigh.”

Mrs Claus continues: “l would of course back anything that means my husband can get home that bit quicker. Getting presents in a shorter amount of time to all the good children each year may even give him time to reconsider a few names on the naughty list. But I can’t promise.”

Innovative engineering means the new EcoBoost engine delivers performance to rival a traditional 1.6-litre engine but with significantly improved fuel efficiency and lower CO2 emissions of just 114g/km CO2.

The 1.0-litre EcoBoost cylinder block also fits onto a single sheet of A4 paper, but still delivers up to 125PS and 170Nm peak torque (with 200Nm overboost), giving it the highest power density of any Ford production engine to date.

“Our tongue may be firmly in cheek as we launch this sleigh design, but our heart is the right place,” Wraith said. “At Ford, we’re dreaming of a Green Christmas. We’re already thinking of the concept sleigh mark II. With electric vehicle battery technology developing all the time, we are keen to get to work on a zero-carbon version of our sleigh.”

The redesigned sleigh also incorporates other cutting edge Ford technologies. Highlights include:

  • Active park assist: Clever technology that first checks if a parking space is big enough, then automatically steers your car/sleigh in. Useful for Santa in making those tight reverse rooftop landings.
  • Door edge protector: A simple, but ingenious addition to Ford doors, helping thwart dents, dings and scratches even in the tightest parking spot. Vital to help Santa stop scratching the door of his sleigh on all those annoying chimneys.
  • SYNC: A sophisticated in-car, voice-activated technology system, that can be easily personalised. This will help Santa keep in touch with the elves back at base, stay en route with GPS navigation and enable him to listen to and change, his favourite Christmas music.
  • EcoMode: In-car software that provides useful advice for drivers on achieving better fuel economy tailored to their individual driving styles. A specially modified version of the software will include an electronic Christmas tree image. The better Santa’s green driving performance, the more of the trees branch symbols will light-up.
  • Active City Stop & Blind Spot Information System: Two driver assistance technologies, the first assists drivers in slow moving traffic by detecting if the car in front unexpectedly stops and braking automatically in response, whilst the second helps detect vehicles in blind spots during normal driving. Both will be useful to Santa, as he tries to avoid planes in our increasingly crowded skys.
  • MyKey: Enabling car owners to encourage their teenagers (or elves) to drive safer and more fuel efficiently, with increased safety-belt usage, through a range of driver specific configurable features.
  • 1 litre EcoBoost engine: As outlined, helping ensure the engine powering Santa’s sleigh is green, lean, mean and compact.

# # #

Editor’s note:

1. Santa’s nine reindeer are: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and of course Rudolph.
2. Before the now infamous red snowsuit – created by Thomas Nast and popularised by Coca Cola – Santa Claus was more often associated with a green snowsuit.

About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 166,000 employees and about 70 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford’s products, please visit www.fordmotorcompany.com.

Ford of Europe is responsible for producing, selling and servicing Ford brand vehicles in 51 individual markets and employs approximately 66,000 employees. In addition to Ford Motor Credit Company, Ford of Europe operations include Ford Customer Service Division and 22 manufacturing facilities, including joint ventures. The first Ford cars were shipped to Europe in 1903 – the same year Ford Motor Company was founded. European production started in 1911.

Calculations & assumptions
Reindeer emissions: The approximate size of Earth is 150,000,000 km2 and Santa will have to visit an estimated 267,300,000 houses. In order to successfully deliver a toy to every child, Santa and his team of reindeers will need to travel 200,237,360 km on Christmas Eve. A single reindeer travels on average 3,000 miles (4,827 km) per year and emits 25 kg of methane (CH4).

Using a conversion factor of 0.005kgs CH4/km, results in an estimate a total 9,335 tonnes CH4
per reindeer team. This figure is equivalent to 214,670 tonnes of CO2. Figures developed by sharing assumptions developed by environmental group Green500.

1 litre EcoBoost emissions: The above compares to total CO2 emissions for the 1 litre EcoBoost (125PS version at 114g/km CO2) of 22,827 tonnes. Opting for the less powerful, but more fuel efficient 99bhp version (109g/km CO2), would save Santa an additional 1,000 tonnes of CO2, but admittedly means his deliveries are likely to take him longer to complete.

Cost of food for reindeer: Average reindeer travel 4,827km a year, divided by 365 (days of year) equals 13.2km travelled per day. Divide 200,237,360km travelled on Christmas Eve by 13.2 equals 15,169,497 days to travel that distance. Multiplied by 12lbs (the average amount of food a reindeer eats a day) = 182,033,964 lbs of food. This multiplied by 0.67 pounds (average £ for lb of carrots) equals £121,962,756 to fuel the reindeer.

Cost of petrol for EcoBoost emissions: 110PS EcoBoost engine travelling 200,237,360km on Christmas Eve, divided by 100 (km) and then multiply by 5.0 (litres) equals 10,011,868 litres of fuel at £1.218 per litre, equals £12,194,455.

If you have any further enquiries or require publication-quality, downloadable photographs on Ford Motor Company products or services, visit our dedicated media website www.media.ford.com or contact our press officers.



Stephy21 | 1:57PM (Mon, Dec 26, 2011)

I think Santa is going to be very happy.

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