What Ford Engineers Learned from Honeybees

Sean T. Johnston

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The secret to making the extra-strong cargo shelf in the all-new 2018 Ford EcoSport didn’t come from a top-secret metal alloy or military lab – it came from honeybees.


As it turns out, the buzzing little honeybees are very talented structural engineers. The same honeycomb shape that that the honeybees use in making beehives has applications elsewhere too. Ford engineers utilized that honeycomb design to make a shelf capable of handling just about anything you might stuff into the back of an SUV.


“The hexagonal design of honeycomb is a testament to nature’s ingenuity,” says Mike Mazzella, Ford EcoSport assistant chief engineer. “Not only is it strong, it’s superlight. 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.”


Ford engineers needed something sturdy and lightweight, and the bees delivered the perfect inspiration. You might not believe it by just looking at it, but the shelf can hold well over one hundred times its own weight: the equivalent weight of nearly 60 1-gallon cans of paint. The hexagonal cells, made from 100-percent recycled paper and water-based adhesive, are sandwiched between a composite resin to deliver a material that is as light as it is strong.


The shelf is also incredibly versatile. Customers can keep it low for maximum storage. Or bring it up to the middle position and create a secure storage area underneath the floor board. Or, it can be raised up to the top to create a cargo floor that lines up perfectly with the fold-flat second-row seats.


Small but sturdy, the cargo shelf is a perfect analogy for the all-new 2018 Ford EcoSport. It’s the fun but practical, mini SUV that’s going to make big waves when it hits showrooms next year.


To learn more about this cool, but capable addition to the Ford lineup, and to stay current on all the latest updates, click here!

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