Ford, Jose Cuervo partner to bring agave to your next vehicle

When you think of products made from agave, what comes to mind? A sweet syrup? Tequila? Car parts? Wait…what?

Yes, Ford and Jose Cuervo are partnering to create something different: car parts from agave plant byproduct.

As both companies look to reduce their environmental footprint, they’re working together to explore the use of the tequila producer’s agave plant byproduct in Ford vehicles, potentially forming bioplastics for a variety of automotive uses, from wire harnesses to storage bins.

A SECOND CHANCE AT USEFULNESS

With nearly 200 kilograms of plastic in a typical car, every step Ford can take to reduce the weight of vehicles, without compromising the quality of the parts, is an important one. The remnant fibres from the processed agave plant could help make vehicle parts not only lighter (lowering energy consumption) but also more durable.

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Nearly five billion metric tonnes of excess agricultural biomass is created every year, according to the United Nations Environment Programme. Jose Cuervo is determined to find better uses for their still-viable agave plant byproduct – working with Ford to find sustainable uses for these abundant and underutilized materials helps everyone and also our planet.

BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE

The more sustainable materials that help manufacturers like Ford offset the use of petrochemicals, glass fibres and talc in parts production, the better. Agave could potentially join soy foam, castor oil, wheat straw, kenaf fibre, cellulose, coconut fibre and rice hulls on the growing list of sustainable biomaterials used in Ford vehicles.

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Before any of these sustainable biomaterials make their way into a Ford vehicle, they have to be as-or-more durable as the part being replaced. It’s all part of Ford’s plan to find the right place for sustainable composites that both improve the quality of our vehicles and reduce our impact on the planet.

 

Muffler Warning Signs

Signs of Problems with Your Car’s Muffler

An exhaust leak and other muffler repairs are costly.

Depending on your car and its exhaust system, the cost to make repairs to a damaged or broken exhaust component can range widely – but putting off an exhaust repair almost always costs more than addressing them promptly.

Because your exhaust system does more than just keep your car quiet – it also routes exhaust fumes away from the cabin, helps your engine run properly and maintain optimum fuel efficiency, and reduces polluting emissions.

Here are some useful things to know if you suspect your vehicle may need muffler or exhaust system repairs:

Car exhaust repair

One of the most obvious signs for many drivers is a deep or loud rumbling sound coming from your car. When this happens, it’s time to get it to a mechanic.

Having the exhaust repaired before it gets too loud offers the most benefit to you.

Delaying a needed car exhaust repair can make it cost more. That is because continuing to drive with an exhaust leak or bad catalytic converter can damage other things in your vehicle’s operating system.

Don’t just turn up the radio to drown out a loud muffler. Have the increased volume problem checked out and repaired by a professional. It will save you money in the long run.

downloadCatalytic converter

The catalytic converter is one of the highest priced exhaust system parts and, in some vehicles such as SUVs and trucks, it may be prone to theft by scrap metal thieves.

If your catalytic converter has been stolen, you’ll immediately notice a loud sound and altered vehicle performance upon startup.

An intact but failing catalytic converter may sound like someone shaking a box of rocks when your vehicle is idling when parked or stopped in traffic. If you notice any of these issues, schedule an appointment for the muffler shop right away.

Exhaust leak

If you notice a new vibration or loss of power when operating your car, have the exhaust system checked by a professional. You might notice the new vibration when you touch the steering wheel, foot pedals or car seat.

You might or might not hear a rumbling sound, depending on the size of the damaged area. A hole, exhaust leak or disconnected exhaust system component don’t just cause vibrations, they can also signal the engine is no longer running at optimum performance.

Exhaust system affects fuel efficiency

18cx1sf1g0529jpgIf you notice you have to fill up your gas tank more often than normal, have your exhaust system checked out by a muffler repair shop.

Similar to the vibrations, increased fuel use is a sign something is wrong with your car. When the exhaust leaks, your engine works harder. When your engine works harder, it requires more fuel.

Things Self-Driving Cars Will Make Obsolete

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New technology eventually replaces the old. Not only have public pay telephones all but disappeared in the wake of cellphones, but many homeowners even choose to forgo having a landline telephone. Meanwhile, Internet shopping services such as Amazon are slowly gaining prominence over brick-and-mortar retail stores.

Self-driving cars will change our cultural landscape the way the printing press, indoor plumbing and the Internet did. Over time, these autonomous vehicles (AVs) will make some things obsolete that we currently take for granted. They may not disappear overnight, but one day we’ll likely look around and notice that the roads and highways are quite different places than they once were.

Here are five things the transition to AVs will probably relegate to history books.

Street Signs

9iRg6rEETAlthough pedestrians may still require signs announcing the names of streets, instructional signs — such as stop, yield and no-parking signs — will quickly become redundant on roads where cars drive themselves. AV programming will include such instructions. Even today, some GPS navigation systems display the current speed limit on their touchscreens. With this information programmed into a car’s computer, we could see speed-limit signs eventually disappear, as well.

Traffic Lights

Signal LightChances are that traffic lights as we know them will also fade into disuse. Sure, pedestrians and bicyclists will still need to know who has the right of way, but traditional traffic lights that go from green to yellow to red probably won’t be the source of that information. Something along the lines of current cross/don’t-cross signals would probably serve the purpose more effectively.

Valet Parking

valet-parkingSelf-parking will be a function of AVs: They’ll be able to unload their passengers and find a parking spot on their own. Nissan has test AVs that are already capable of dropping off passengers, parking themselves and then returning to pick up those passengers by commands issued through a key fob. Essentially fulfilling the role of a valet parking attendant, AVs will eliminate such services and the costs associated with them.

Parking Meters

metersAs with valet parking services, today’s parking meters will likely disappear. In communities that currently use parking meters to generate revenue, some new technology will need to be developed to charge for street and public lots filled with self-parking cars. Such technology could look like today’s toll-road transponders, such as Florida’s SunPass. In any case, the idea of physically inserting money or a credit card into a metering system just won’t work when cars park without a driver present.

Mail Carriers

2735733_370Electric refrigerators replaced iceboxes, eliminating the need for ice vendors, and corner supermarkets eventually erased daily milk deliveries and milkmen from the scene. In much the same way, a number of commonplace service jobs may prove unnecessary in the age of self-driving cars. With AVs able to follow set routes, the position of mail carrier might be one of the first to go.

While it remains to be seen whether self-driving cars will truly make these now-common realities things of the past, one thing is for certain: Once AVs hit the streets, the world will start to look different pretty quickly.