Bees Inspire Lightweight Cargo Floorboard That Can Hold 700 lbs.

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New Ford Ecosport Will Feature Clever Honeycomb-Influenced Cargo System

Increasing demands for emissions- and fuel-efficiency have pushed for more efficient and smarter engines. But what about the rest of the car? After all, it’s not the engine and drivetrain than help a vehicle be more efficient, it can be many other things.

The new Ford EcoSport’s cargo floorboard is a prime example of such innovations outside of the engine bay. Inspired by bees (see the video below), the new floorboard is constructed from all-natural paper and water-based glue, which allows the single-piece unit to weigh only six pounds. It features a honeycomb design and is both eco-friendly and strong enough to handle nearly 700 pounds of cargo.

“The hexagonal design of honeycomb is a testament to nature’s ingenuity,” says Mike Mazzella, Ford EcoSport’s assistant chief engineer. “Not only is it strong, it’s super-light. Customers can slide the shelf into multiple different slots like an oven rack; even store it on the back of the seats. It helps make EcoSport super-flexible in everyday use.”

For years, a honeycomb-like design has been used to create the strong structure under the skins employed in high-end sporting equipment like skis, as well as aerospace frames. To create the adjustable floorboard for the all-new Ford EcoSport, a layer of hexagon-shaped cells made completely of recycled paper and water-based glue is sandwiched between two layers of composite material. It’s able to hold more than 100 times its six-pound weight in cargo. Thanks, bees!

Ford even produced a neat little video to show us how it works. Enjoy!

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Jerry Perez is a regular contributor to Ford Truck Enthusiasts, Corvette Forum, and 6SpeedOnline, among other auto sites.

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