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Ford Offers Santa an EcoBoost-Powered Sleigh

Source: Ford | Published: Fri Dec 23, 2011

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 reindeer 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 roots," 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 (124,000,000 miles) - means Santa currently spends in excess of 122 million GBP ($188 million) on carrots to fuel his reindeer each year. The impressive fuel efficiency of the 1 liter EcoBoost would reduce Santa's fuel costs by 90% to just 12 million GBP ($18 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-liter engine but with significantly improved fuel efficiency and lower CO2 emissions of just 114 g/km CO2.

The 1.0-liter EcoBoost cylinder block also fits onto a single sheet of A4 paper, but still delivers up to 125 hp, 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 in 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 skies.
* 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 liter EcoBoost engine: As outlined, helping ensure the engine powering Santa's sleigh is green, lean, mean and compact.


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 popularized by Coca Cola - Santa Claus was more often associated with a green snowsuit.

Calculations and 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 0.005 kgs 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 liter EcoBoost emissions: The above compares to total CO2 emissions for the 1 liter EcoBoost (125 hp version at 114 g/km CO2) of 22,827 tonnes. Opting for the less powerful, but more fuel efficient 99 hp version (109 g/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 4,827 km a year, divided by 365 (days of year) equals 13.2 km travelled per day. Divide 200,237,360 km travelled on Christmas Eve by 13.2 equals 15,169,497 days to travel that distance. Multiplied by 12 lbs (the average amount of food a reindeer eats a day) = 182,033,964 lbs of food. This multiplied by 0.67 pounds (average GBP for lb of carrots) equals 121,962,756 GBP to fuel the reindeer.

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

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