by Adam Pockross
If anyone understands the importance of tradition, it’s Santa Claus. Jolly Old Saint Nick has been delivering gifts on his trusty sleigh forever, pulled along on Christmas Eve by his trusty reindeer, led ever intrepidly by Rudolph of the red nosed variety. It’s a tried and true operation, as battle tested as the tooth fairy.
But you know what, and I say this reluctantly, sometimes you have to question tradition. Sometimes you have to look into the face of what is, and ask if what is, is really what should be. Santa, I’m talking to you. And apparently, so is Ford.
In an effort to help Santa Clause curb his ridiculously large carbon footprint, Ford has designed a concept sleigh, to be powered not by nine CO2 spewing reindeer, but by the gas sipping, emission friendly EcoBoost.
I’m not making this stuff up. Check out the press release below from Ford and then let us know in the Forums if you think it’s about time Rudolph hung ‘em up!
FORD OFFERS SANTA AN ECOBOOST POWERED CONCEPT SLEIGH TO LOWER REINDEER DERIVED CO2 EMISSIONS
*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 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 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.
# # #
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.