Ford the Only Full-Line Automaker Named to Fast Company 2013 Ranking of World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies
Ford the Only Full-Line Automaker Named to Fast Company 2013 Ranking of World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies
- Ford Motor Company is the only full-line automaker recognized in Fast Company’s 2013 Most Innovative Companies ranking
- Ford joins top-ranked Nike and Amazon as well as technology companies such as Apple and Google and online educator Coursera
NEW YORK, Feb. 11, 2013 – Fast Company’s annual Most Innovative Companies issue honors leading businesses, including Apple, Amazon, Google and Target along with such rising newcomers as Square, Fab and Tumblr. Ford Motor Company is the only full-line automaker named to the 2013 list. Nike ranks No. 1 following the release of two major innovations, FuelBand and Flyknit technology.
Fast Company editors highlighted an array of recent efforts by Ford, including the opening of a Silicon Valley Lab in Palo Alto, Calif. in June 2012 where Ford engineers can collaborate with some of the best and brightest technology minds.
Among the innovative features already available in Ford vehicles, the award-winning SYNC® connectivity system enables drivers to stay connected with the latest mobile technology using voice commands so that hands can stay on the wheel and eyes on the road. The all-new 2013 Ford Fusion offers one of the industry’s most complete suites of advanced driver assist systems, including adaptive cruise control and the Lane Keeping System all in an affordable midsize family sedan. Ford researchers are also hard at work on future systems including a driver workload estimator to help drivers manage stressful situations on the road.
The Most Innovative Companies is Fast Company’s most significant, high-profile editorial effort of the year. The editorial team spends months gathering and sifting data to identify those enterprises that exemplify the best in business from across the economy and around the world. The end result is a package that dares to be different, emphasizing not just revenue growth and profit margins but also progressive business models and an ethos of creativity. This year’s honorees include major brands like Samsung and Coca-Cola, creative upstarts like Nasty Gal and Uber, and social disruptors like Coursera and D-Rev. Internationally Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies package spans the globe celebrating such companies as Kenya’s Safaricom (No. 9), Israel’s SodaStream (No. 23), Russia’s Oktogo online travel service (No. 35) and China’s Landwasher (No. 38).
In addition to the Top 50, Fast Company also ranks the Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in 10 categories, including Big Data, Entertainment, Finance, and Food — all of which are featured in the print edition and on FastCompany.com. Additional Top 10 lists will continue to be rolled out online and through social channels in the weeks to come. Special online-only coverage: The Most Innovative Moments in Business, from Apple to Starbucks, Airbnb to Disney.
Notable on this year’s list: the absence of social media giants Facebook and Twitter. “Neither produced innovations worth celebrating,” the magazine explains in an accompanying article. “In the history of our list, fewer than one-third of the companies return from one year to the next. This year, only seven are consecutive honorees, an indication of how more companies in more corners of the world are innovating to seek a competitive edge, with the stakes only getting higher.”
Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies issue (March 2013) is on newsstands beginning Feb. 19 and available online at www.fastcompany.com/MIC as well as in app form via iTunes.
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About Ford Motor Company Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 171,000 employees and 65 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford and its products worldwide, please visit http://corporate.ford.com.
About Fast Company Fast Company is the world’s leading progressive business-media brand, with a unique editorial focus on innovation in technology, ethonomics (ethical economics), leadership, and design. In print and through digital and social channels, as well as live events, Fast Company reports on and addresses the most progressive business leaders. Editor Robert Safian was named AdWeek’s Editor of the Year in 2009. Under the leadership of publisher Christine Osekoski, Fast Company made AdWeek’s Hot List for three consecutive years, and FastCompany.com executive editor Noah Robischon has tripled traffic and revenue. Fast Company is owned by Joe Mansueto, founder, chairman, and CEO of Morningstar, a leading provider of independent investment research.
Ford Press Release follows:
Sensing the Future: Ford Issues Predictions for Next Wave of Automotive Electronics Innovation
- Ford vehicles including the all-new 2013 Fusion are increasingly equipped with sensors that assist drivers with increased awareness
- Sensor fusion, machine learning, and “big data” among the predictions for the next wave of Ford research and development
DEARBORN, Mich., Dec. 21, 2012 – State-of-the-art sensing, computing and communications systems are not only quickly changing consumer expectations in people’s everyday lives, but are driving innovation in the automotive industry at an incredible pace in preparation for the future.
“Ford was founded on the innovative spirit of Henry Ford, and the opportunity today to reinvent the driving experience excites us just as it probably would have him,” said Paul Mascarenas, vice president and chief technical officer of Ford. “Technology is enabling Ford to bring a new level of awareness and intelligence that will dramatically enhance our customers’ time behind the wheel.”
As CTO, Mascarenas has been leading the team researching and developing new technologies for Ford vehicles, particularly in the area of driver assistance and mobile device connectivity.
“The new Fusion sedan demonstrates how we’re making the car smarter using attainable and affordable technology and thus helping create a better driver,” continues Mascarenas. “Fusion features an unprecedented level of sensors for its driver assist technologies, machine learning techniques to deliver more electric-only driving on the hybrids, and innovative graphical interfaces to help coach drivers to be as fuel efficient as possible.”
With more than 145 actuators, 4716 signals, and 74 sensors including radar, sonar, cameras, accelerometers, temperature and even rain sensors, the 2013 Fusion can monitor the perimeter around the car and see into places that are not readily visible from the driver’s seat. These sensors produce more than 25 gigabytes of data per hour which is analyzed by more than 70 on-board computers. The actuators combined with signal information from the driver assist sensors can alert the driver to potential dangers, and actively assist with parking and lane keeping.
“So far we’ve just scratched the surface of what is possible,” said Mascarenas. “In the Fusion, we have sensors and actuators that act independently as part of the assist features. The next phase, currently in research, involves sensor fusion, where engineers learn how to more comprehensively characterize the environment by blending multiple signals, and add externally available information through cloud connectivity.”
According to Mascarenas’ predictions, top areas for car technology innovation in the coming years will include:
- “Big data” analysis and intelligent decision making: Ford is researching the use of real-time sensor data – radar and camera-based – that can help evaluate external factors affecting driver attention, such as traffic congestion, and thus limit potential distractions such as an incoming phone call
- Upgradeable, customizable hardware: Ford’s OpenXC research platform looks at the potential for open-source, community-driven innovation of plug-and-play hardware modules that provide infinite opportunities for rapid customization
- Seamless integration across cloud ecosystems: The success of Ford SYNC® has been linked to its open, agnostic platform strategy that has allowed for adoption and compatibility with the burgeoning mobile ecosystem; the next step is to do the same for the consumer shift toward cloud-based services
- Advanced machine learning: The new Fusion and C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrids utilize EV+, a feature that learns the typical locations of charging, such as home and office, and then automatically maximizes electric-only driving mode when nearing those locations
- Biometrics: Ford is researching biometric sensors, such as those embedded in a car seat, to measure stress levels for a more personalized response from driver assist technologies, because skill levels – and thus stress – can vary in certain situations
- Prediction: Ford researchers are looking at ways to predict driver behavior, such as a driver’s destination based on prior history, to help optimize and configure vehicle controls for improved performance such as better energy management
- Rapid data authentication: Ford sees significant potential in vehicle-to-vehicle communications and is actively researching the technology globally, including advanced Wi-Fi® with rapid authentication capability so that cars can exchange information quickly and securely, helping drivers avoid potential collisions
“All of these areas of research are well within our reach,” concludes Mascarenas. “The key to readiness and implementation in Ford vehicles is ensuring the customer experience of these technology features trumps the technology itself.”
Ford Technology Development Efforts Recognized on the Thomson Reuters Top 100 Global Innovators List
- Ford’s recent enhancements to spur employee innovation have resulted in a 60% increase in invention submissions
- The Employee Patent Incentive Awards program’s recent inclusion of earned memberships to TechShop Detroit showcase Ford’s unique ways to spur innovation
- Ford has earned nearly 500 patents on hybrid electric vehicle technology
DEARBORN, Mich., Dec. 4, 2012 – Technological innovation has been at the heart of Ford Motor Company for more than a century and this year Thomson Reuters has recognized that with a place on its Top 100 Global Innovators list. The full list can be found at http://www.top100innovators.com.
“Developing creative solutions to real problems in mobility and manufacturing has always been a core of the Ford philosophy and today we are encouraging innovation more than ever,” says Bill Coughlin, CEO, Ford Global Technologies. “We’re in an increasingly competitive marketplace and embracing the challenge to continuously improve quality, safety, energy efficiency and technology.
“Enhancements to programs like the Employee Patent Incentive Awards encourage our team members to think outside the box for new solutions.”
Invention submissions are up 60% since the launch of the enhanced invention incentives that included memberships to TechShop as an early award.
Getting onto the Top 100 Global Innovators list takes a major investment in developing intellectual property and Ford engineers and researchers have come through recently with nearly 500 patents granted for hybrid electric vehicle technology. The search for ever-improving fuel efficiency has also yielded more than 25 patent applications for the controls for Auto Start-Stop and 125 for EcoBoost® engine technology alone. Innovation goes beyond the engine compartment to include human-machine interfaces like the innovative SmartGauge® instrument cluster, the EcoGuide driver coaching system and the new EV+ system on Ford electrified vehicles.
“From the Model T and the moving assembly line to the latest C-MAX Energi and Fusion Energi plug-in hybrids, Ford has been on the leading edge of using technology to benefit our customers and we don’t plan to slow the pace anytime soon,” adds Coughlin.
The Ford Motor Company had this film produced in 1940 to show how their trucks worked throughout the day and night to deliver goods to consumers. Call it education, or just advertising, it does show the role of Ford trucks and it is interesting for it’s historical views.
The more years that go by, the less things change?
This Ford informational film from 1940 highlights the advantages of genuine Ford parts and service. The message is exactly he same as it is today, but the delivery is accomplished in the style of the day. Enjoy!
Ford Motor Company sponsors two flights for World War II vets to visit the World War II Memorial in D.C.
The Honor Flight Network was established to provide absolutely free flights of our World War Two veterans to the World War II Memorial in Washington D.C.
Time is of the essence: based on recent 2011 statistics we are losing World War II veterans at the rate of approximately 900 per day. The Honor Flight Network will do whatever it takes to fulfill the dreams of our veterans and help our heroes travel absolutely free.
How can YOU help? The Honor Flight Network is a Federal Nonprofit 501(c)3 Organization so your donations are tax deductible.
Ford Press Release follows:
Ford Fund Sends World War II Veterans to Visit World War II Memorial in D.C. on D-Day; Announces $200,000 Grant to DAV
- Ford Motor Company Fund is sponsoring two flights for World War II veterans to visit the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. on the anniversary of D-Day
- About 75 veterans from Michigan and Kentucky are participating
- Ford also announces a $200,000 grant to the Disabled American Veterans, bringing its total support for veterans to more than $7.3 million since 1974
DEARBORN, Mich., June 6, 2012 – On the 68th anniversary of D-Day – the landing of 150,000 Allied troops on Nazi-fortified beaches in Normandy – Ford Motor Company Fund is sponsoring two Honor Flights for about 75 World War II veterans from Michigan and Kentucky to visit the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. The trips are organized as part of the Honor Flight Network.
Ford Fund also is announcing a $200,000 grant for the purchase of eight vehicles to the Disabled American Veterans Transportation Network, bringing to 164 the total number of Ford vehicles in the DAV fleet for transporting disabled veterans. This is in addition to $50,000 in grants for DAV’s Winter Sports Clinic and the Jesse Brown Memorial Youth Scholarship Program. The No. 21 Ford Fusion driven by Trevor Bayne at a NASCAR Memorial Day weekend race sported the DAV logo in honor of Ford’s longstanding partnership with DAV, which includes more than $6.5 million in donations since 1996.
The veterans, all in their late 80s and 90s, and their guardians are receiving a festive airport send-off from Ford employees and others. After arrival in Washington, D.C., the veterans are being greeted by members of Congress and Ford employees at the Memorial, and receiving letters of appreciation from Ford employees, family members and others.
“The sacrifice and bravery of these soldiers serve as a lesson for all of us,” said Mike Bannister, Ford Motor Credit Company chairman and CEO, and champion of the Ford Veterans Network Group. “It is particularly fitting to acknowledge their service on the anniversary of D-Day, a crucial point in the war that took such a high toll on our troops.”
Ford Motor Company has a long history of supporting veterans and military personnel, starting in 1922 when Henry Ford led a cross-country caravan of 50 Ford Model Ts to transport disabled veterans to their convention in San Francisco, his first of many such trips.
“Ford is one of our nation’s great institutions, and for 90 years they’ve honored the brave heroes who have sacrificed for our nation,” said DAV National Adjutant Arthur H. Wilson. “There is something uniquely American about the commitment and loyalty they’ve shown our cause and we’re grateful for our partnership which has made a difference for generations of veterans and their families.”
Since 1974, Ford Motor Company and Ford Fund have provided more than $7.3 million to organizations supporting veterans, including the DAV. Ford Fund’s support of local initiatives for veterans in 2012 includes:
- Operation Goodwill Louisville grant of $10,000 for Interlink Counseling Services that provides a variety of services to veterans
- Creation of green space for a rooftop healing garden at the VA Medical Center in Detroit by Ford Volunteer Corps participants with supplies bought with a $5,000 Ford grant
- Purchase of gasoline by Ford Fund for one year for food delivery vehicles at Meals on Wheels of Greater San Diego where 40 percent of its meal recipients are veterans, and sorting and delivering food by Ford Volunteer Corps participants for Veteran’s Haven in Detroit
- Operation Goodwill San Diego grants for Veterans Village of San Diego’s combat warrior program, which provides discharged service members with rent, utilities and food during substance abuse and mental illness treatment; and for Reboot Workshops by National Veterans Transition Services for service members transitioning back to civilian life
The Ford Veterans Network Group, one of Ford’s corporately supported Employee Resource Groups, sponsors activities throughout the year in support of its veterans, military personnel and their families. Ford has about 30 U.S. employees actively serving in the military and employs about 700 U.S. Reservists and Guardsmen, along with more than 7,000 U.S. veterans.
Ford Motor Company received the Secretary of Defense Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve’s Freedom Award in 2011 for its assistance to Ford employees in the National Guard and Reserve. It is the highest honor bestowed by the Department of Defense for America’s employers who provide exceptional support to their employees.
The benefits to drivers of the “One Ford” methodology become even stronger with every introduction. It’s given us engine technology such as direct injection and independently variable cam timing, access to enthusiast products we wouldn’t have has such as the upcoming Focus ST (and with little doubt, a Focus RS in a few more years), and now the resources of the entire company focused on seating comfort.
New 2013 Escape Launches Ford’s Innovative New Seats as Americans Drive Longer, Hurt More
- With longer commutes causing American drivers to spend more time in their vehicles and have more back pain, comfortable seating is more important than ever
- The slimmer, lighter seats in the new 2013 Escape are one part of the overall weight reduction package in the vehicle, contributing to Ford’s goal to be the fuel economy leader
- Ford’s “Dr. Derriere,” Mike Kolich and his global seating comfort team use a unique seat carousel and a mannequin with an articulated back to help achieve industry-leading seat satisfaction; the team studies seats from other industries, including lawn chairs and high-end office chairs, in the quest to develop even smaller, lighter-weight seats
- The average driver spends 101 minutes per day on the road, with 50 percent of drivers reporting they experience lower back pain; back pain ranks second only to headaches as the most frequent cause of pain
DEARBORN, Mich., Nov. 10, 2011 – As American drivers face longer commutes and more back pain, Ford engineers crafted smaller and lighter, yet more comfortable and supportive seats for the all-new 2013 Ford Escape that also help deliver improved fuel economy as part of an overall reduction in vehicle weight.
“People are spending more time in their vehicles and continually touch the seats, which is why it has become increasingly important to ensure their seat is both comfortable and supportive,” said seat comfort engineer Mike Kolich, better known inside the company as “Dr. Derriere.” “We are designing our seats so when drivers and passengers arrive at their destinations, they are relaxed and ready to go.”
According to Mayo Clinic researchers, back pain ranks second only to headaches as the most frequent cause of pain. Some of this discomfort is caused by Americans spending more time than ever in vehicles, with 50 percent of drivers reporting they experience lower back pain. According to a University of California study, the average driver spends 101 minutes per day on the road.
Kolich is a member of the global seating team that was established in 2005 to bring the development of industry-leading seats in-house at Ford. The team creates seats that meet the safety, quality, functionality, design and packaging requirements of Ford’s global vehicles while ensuring drivers and passengers are comfortable whether they are in Detroit, Paris, Rio de Janeiro or Beijing.
The all-new 2013 Escape is the first Ford vehicle with a global seat architecture specifically designed to conform to the Ford seat DNA. The DNA is a set of quantifiable measurements for each system in a new vehicle designed to provide a consistent feel across all Ford vehicles worldwide.
When the team of engineers (three each in Europe and Brazil, seven in North America and one in Asia) studied customer data in each region, they learned that many of their old assumptions about seats were wrong. “We used to think Europeans liked aggressively shaped seats with firm cushions while Americans preferred flat, cushy seats,” said Kolich. “The reality is that regardless of the size and shape of a driver’s backside, they tend to value roughly the same characteristics when it comes to comfort. European drivers actually wanted somewhat more cushioning than previously thought while Americans wanted better support.”
After running thousands of tests with drivers and passengers around the world in the lab and in vehicles, the team was able to quantify a set of common standards that would provide more comfort no matter where people drive a Ford vehicle.
With the comfort requirements established, the challenge was to build seats that hold occupants in place, increase interior roominess and contribute to the goal of reducing vehicle weight.
Comfort beyond the car
While working on the seats for the new Escape, Kolich studied dozens of chairs used outside of the automotive industry for ideas about what makes a comfortable throne.
“The office chair industry is one of the major industries we’re looking at in terms of construction, materials and durability,” he said. “If you look at the advancements in office chairs from the 1960s – when luxury meant big, puffy cushions – to where they are now, with thin, ergonomic chairs that still feel luxurious, it’s definitely a major change in the way seats are designed.”
The Escape hasn’t been fitted with anything like those modern, high-end office chairs yet – future vehicles will get even slimmer seats – but slimmer seat backs and optimized cushions contribute to increased foot and knee room for rear seat passengers.
By using the same computer simulation tools available to crash safety engineers, the team has developed an award-winning, world-class front seat structure architecture that is 10 percent lighter while meeting global requirements and providing enhanced functionality. These achievements are enabled by use of high-strength steels, laser welding, intelligent part integration, targeted use of engineered plastics and detailed structural-section analyses. This work has resulted in seven Ford-exclusive patent applications to date. The driver’s seat of the 2013 Escape is now available with 10-way power adjustment, and rear seat passengers will benefit from an available reclining seat back.
Subtle, yet significant changes
Many of the changes to the new seats aren’t readily apparent to casual observers. One of the elements of the Ford seat DNA covers the contour of the seat back. When viewed from above, other seat backs typically have a U-shape, where the main central portion of the cushion is flat, with side bolsters emerging from the outer edges. A driver with a torso that is the same width as the seat would be properly restrained during cornering maneuvers. However, a thinner driver could find him or herself sliding toward the outer bolster when going around a curve or just positioned too far to one side or the other.
The new Escape seats feature a V-shape contour that self-centers the driver much as a ball rolling down a V-shaped groove will tend to settle toward the center. Whatever the size or shape of the driver in the 2013 Escape, that person will find him or herself centered in front of the steering wheel and instrument panel and properly positioned relative to the airbags in the event of a crash.
Objective evaluation of every seat design is conducted in a dedicated lab at Ford’s Product Development Center. An industry-standard mannequin dubbed OSCAR is used in conjunction with state-of-the-art coordinate measuring machines to measure the space around the seat with bodies of various sizes. The three-dimensional coordinate data are analyzed and fed back to the computer models used as part of the vehicle development process including crash simulation.
Ford is advancing its seat technology to help alleviate back pain by using a newer mannequin that features a three-segment articulated back. The current OSCAR dummy was originally developed in the 1950s with a one-piece back. The new dummy more closely replicates the human body and enables Ford engineers to collect more detailed data about pressure points on the back that ultimately lead to seats that provide better support where it’s needed. Ford is among the first automakers to use this new mannequin. Across the lab, robotic test equipment is used to measure the deflection of the soy-foam cushions and bolsters with a range of loads using aluminum pans that simulate the shape of various body types.
Seat of the pants
Even with all of the quantitative data being collected, eventually the engineers have to put butts in seats. Blind comfort evaluations are conducted using a turntable with five different seats mounted on it. Testers sit down on the seat, give a subjective rating, and then the turntable rotates to bring the next seat around. All of these efforts are paying off, as the number of consumers surveyed by the Global Quality Research System giving a “high satisfaction” rating to Ford seats steadily rose from 78 percent to 83 percent between 2005 and 2010.
Ford introduced its new design language today, as part of the rollout of concepts for the Frankfurt show. It’s aggressive, there are no chrome bars, it leaves truck styling completely behind, and it’s all Ford. The “Evos” concept is the most important concept Ford has created in many years.
And just look at it! We’re intrigued: this isn’t the new 2015 Mustang, but it could very well be the front face of the new Mustang. The Evos, at 177″ long, is just slightly shorter than a Fox Mustang, but has a much longer wheelbase. We think the overall proportions are perfect, and the curves are sexy and much appreciated. The Evos makes the Camaro look like a brick, and it makes the current Mustang look like something from the last century. It’s striking.
Unfortunately, while the rest of the concept is the correct size for a Mustang, the Evos is designed around front wheel drive architecture, not rear. It’s also nice to see a 2-door concept. The thought of having to live with 4-door Focus STs and Fiesta STs is depressing. Why carry around extra weight that you don’t need?
You can also see the similarity here to the upcoming 2013 Taurus – with the same shape grill and angled headlights. Of course the morbidly obese Taurus looks heavy, and has tiny narrow windows. The Evos has by comparison an airy greenhouse. A return to that design philosophy would be much appreciated – a car that you can actually see out of.
Ford Press Release follows, with image.
Ford Evos Concept – The Ultimate Expression of Ford’s New Global Design and Technology Vision
- Ford Evos Concept showcases Ford’s first truly global design language and a new vision for customer-focused and intuitive technologies
- Dramatic four-door, four-seat fastback concept with state-of-the-art lithium-ion plug-in hybrid powertrain previews Ford’s new global design language with distinctive exterior and interior design cues
- Driver engagement technologies explore seamless enhancement of the driving experience, driver well-being and smart, electrified powertrain.
- Ford Evos Concept makes global debut at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show
Berlin, Germany, August 31, 2011 – Making its global debut at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show in September, the Ford Evos Concept represents the ultimate expression of Ford’s new global design language, and explores key future powertrain and vehicle technologies.
Created as a bespoke concept vehicle, the fastback introduces Ford’s first truly global design language as the momentum of the company’s One Ford product plan continues to build.
“The Ford Evos Concept unites three key elements which are at the core of our One Ford global product strategy: outstanding design, smart technologies and fuel economy leadership,” said Derrick Kuzak, group vice president of Global Product Development.
“With its compelling design and innovative technology experience, this is a clear demonstration of the exciting vision we have for the Ford brand. While you will never see this car on the road, the next generation of Ford products around the world will display many of the distinctive design ideas and advanced technologies it showcases.”
Technology vision for enriched customer experience
Ford Evos Concept is not just a design-led exercise. It also embodies the global Ford product development team’s move to design and develop vehicles as more than just an interior and exterior, or a collection of attributes.
“Our goal is to focus on enriching a customer’s every experience with their vehicle – by personalizing it, adapting it, and creating unique, unexpected features that surprise and delight them,” said Kuzak. “In the Ford Evos Concept, this objective is explored and extended to the area of connectivity, where the intent is not to convert the vehicle into a smartphone, but rather to provide personalised and safe connection to the outside world in an enriching manner designed totally for the vehicle context.”
Ford’s global Research and Innovation team, led by Paul Mascarenas, was tasked with building Evos Concept around a technology experience as visionary as the design. The result signals how Ford intends to build on the momentum of innovations like the SYNC in-car connectivity system.
“At Ford, the future of technology in the car will be defined by the experience that it delivers to the driver and passengers,” said Paul Mascarenas, chief technical officer and vice president of Ford Research and Innovation. “We see technology as more than just an impressive list of microprocessors, sensors and software; it’s about the application of that technology to create an experience that enhances the driver’s time behind the wheel.”
The concept’s technology experience embraces a new generation of driver interaction and awareness currently under development in the Ford Research and Innovation laboratories. Seamless connectivity between the vehicle and the driver’s ‘personal cloud’ of information is at the heart of the vision for its capabilities.
“The possibilities are fascinating when we explore how to enable a seamless lifestyle between home, office and car linked by access to the driver’s personal information,” Mascarenas said.
With information from the cloud, the vehicle can provide the same connected lifestyle the driver experiences at home or office. The car knows the driver, and automatically adapts handling, steering and engine controls to deliver an exceptionally dynamic driving experience.
Ford researchers are focusing their efforts in this area to deliver on four key customer benefits: personalisation, seamless enhancement of the driving experience, looking after the driver’s well-being and delivering smart electrified powertrain optimisation.
The personalised, cloud-connected lifestyle
While today’s Ford products provide drivers with many personalisation options, cloud connectivity will enable future Ford vehicles to take the experience to the next level.
Drawing from a detailed understanding of the driver’s preferences and driving habits, the Ford Evos Concept combines this personal information with additional data from the cloud, such as the driver’s work schedule and local traffic or weather conditions. This information provides a personalised and seamless experience as the driver transitions in and out of the car.
“We’re researching how we can use patterns or preferences set by the driver to make life simpler,” said Mascarenas. “The car gets to know you and can act as a personal assistant to handle some of the usual routines of a daily commute.”
It could automatically play the same music or news program that was just streaming at home, or heat or cool the interior to an ideal temperature before the driver gets in without having to be requested by predicting departure time based on his calendar. Wirelessly communicating with devices in the home, it could close the garage door and switch off the lights automatically as it pulls away.
“This cloud-connected vision shows the enormous potential of tailoring the driving experience to suit the exact personal tastes and moods of the driver,” said Mascarenas. “From recommending a great driving road from friends on your social networks or resetting your alarm clock to let you sleep in when a morning meeting gets cancelled!”
Enhanced driving experience
Ford Evos Concept explores adaptive vehicle technologies to redefine the driving experience.
Current technology requires vehicle chassis settings to be defined based upon the abilities and tastes of a cross-section of drivers and the topography of typical roads. The concept foresees tuning handling and performance to the road ahead and the specific individual behind the wheel.
Learning driver habits and capabilities, the technology can overlay map and weather data sourced from the cloud to adjust powertrain, steering, suspension and braking systems for optimum enjoyment, comfort and safety. Because the vehicle is adaptive and honed to maximum performance based on the situation, it takes driving engagement to a new level.
Ford researchers have already developed technologies focused on driver wellness, such as the heart-rate monitoring seat and certified allergy-free interiors. With a seamless connection to the cloud, the Ford Evos Concept monitors the physical state and workload of the driver and adjusts the driving experience accordingly.
“Our wellness research and technologies are focused on relieving driver stress and enhancing their situational awareness,” said Mascarenas. “Drivers around the world are spending more time behind the wheel, and the car should not be another stress point in their lives.”
The Ford Evos Concept is also equipped with advanced air quality sensors and filtration systems to help allergy sufferers. Location aware, it can access air quality data from the cloud and proactively suggest a healthier route to the destination.
In dynamic driving situations, the vehicle may simplify the appearance of the instrument panel to display only necessary gauge information and switch the driver’s connected smartphone to “Do Not Disturb” mode to help keep the focus of attention on the road.
Cloud-optimised hybrid powertrain
Completing the vision for the Ford Evos Concept is a state-of-the-art lithium-ion plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrain providing the same next-generation performance and fuel economy as the Ford C-MAX Energi scheduled for introduction in North America in 2012 and Europe in 2013.
Ford ‘powersplit’ hybrid architecture allows the electric motor and petrol engine to work together or separately to maximise efficiency. The advanced powertrain typically runs in all-electric mode before switching to charge-sustaining hybrid mode for continued optimal fuel efficiency.
Cloud connectivity would provide further opportunities to enhance performance and efficiency by selecting the optimum combination of powertrain modes for any given journey.
“Access to historical driver behaviour and travel patterns allows us to calculate the optimal fuel and energy efficiency by predicting the destination,” said Mascarenas. “Our researchers are working to increase understanding of driver behaviour, develop accurate protocols to predict it and enhance the trip by providing the smartest use of fuel or battery for the situation.”
The cloud-optimised powertrain would automatically ‘know’ when to save energy and switch modes, using information about the vehicle’s predicted travel route, any emission zone restrictions during the journey and current weather conditions.
In the future, communities may place firm restrictions on the types of vehicles allowed to use certain roads or highway lanes, and some city centres may choose to be open only to full electric vehicles. Helping drivers comply with such regulations could therefore be among the benefits of this technology. For example, the French government is considering creating zones mandating lower emissions, while cities such as London, Berlin, and Stockholm already have them in place.
This capability would further enhance the performance of Ford’s advanced PHEV technology, which offers an overall driving range of more than 500 miles (800 kilometres) using the battery and engine – more than any other plug-in or extended-range electric vehicle.
“With its leading-edge ‘cloud-optimised’ PHEV powertrain offering outstanding efficiency and range with supreme driving enjoyment, the Ford Evos Concept highlights our vision for greener, smarter vehicles with outstanding customer appeal,” said Kuzak.
Ford’s new design direction
The Ford Evos Concept was specifically developed to introduce the new Ford design direction. Key design elements will be applied to forthcoming Ford vehicles.
The new global design DNA provides the company’s worldwide design teams with a common framework to guide the creation of new products, enabling them to shape a coherent family of distinctive vehicles sharing the same fundamental design character.
“We wanted the Ford Evos Concept to give a clear message about where Ford design is heading – shaping vehicles that are fun to drive, have a strong premium visual appeal, and above all, are stunningly beautiful,” said J Mays, group vice president, Design and chief creative officer.
“Our exciting new design DNA has been developed and refined by an intensive effort by all of our talented global design team,” said Mays. “As a team, we wanted to create a more technical design vocabulary to help communicate the smart technology that is now core to the Ford brand. In addition, we worked particularly hard on meeting the high-expectations of a new generation of buyers – a group of consumers who have grown up surrounded by beautiful, premium design work on even the most affordable products.”
Dramatic fastback design with unique proportions
To provide a fitting vehicle to introduce the new design language, the Ford Evos Concept was conceived as a dramatic fastback concept, combining a striking new profile with innovative proportions. Attention-grabbing lines conceal a unique new format, with a four-door, four-seat layout which combines dynamic appearance with surprising practicality.
“This is an exciting new interpretation of the fastback bodystyle, with a really innovative silhouette as well as dramatic and very modern proportions,” Mays said.
With the length of a typical C-car, but with width of a CD-car, the Ford Evos Concept has a powerful, sporting stance. The forward position of the cowl, the strongly rounded front screen and the A-pillars set further to the rear enabled the designers to create the impression of a classic GT car, but with a very contemporary feel.
The concept’s spectacular hinged gullwing-style doors, both front and rear, provide outstanding access to the spacious four-seat cabin.
The concept car measures 4.50m (177in) long, 1.97m (77in) wide and 1.36m (53in) high, with a wheelbase of 2.74m (108in).
Shaped as the ultimate expression of the new design DNA, the Ford Evos Concept highlights key elements of Ford’s distinctive new global design language.
“The new design DNA marks a bold evolution of the kinetic design language featured on existing global Ford products and is characterised by a number of important elements that will contribute to an unmistakable future Ford look,” said Mays.
From the front, the Ford Evos Concept immediately signals the arrival of something new – a new face for Ford featuring the signature trapezoidal grille mounted higher on the car and creating a confident, more premium look.
Bold, technical shapes, such as the extremely slim ‘laser cut’ front lamps or the dramatic graphic created by the front and rear screens connected by the thin glazed section of the roof, add a distinctive character to the design. Sculptured flanks highlight attention to detail on the surfacing, which lends a refined quality and a tauter, more muscular character.
“The Ford Evos Concept embodies the core elements of the new global design language, while capturing the dynamic, fun-to-drive spirit which is central to the Ford DNA,” said executive design director Martin Smith. “Most notable is the brand new ‘face of Ford’, with its higher mounted trapezoidal grille, and the design is characterised by the use of very bold, technical graphics. We have also created much more refined and precise surfacing, and these elements together give a strong visual sense of premium quality.
The vehicle was sculpted with the same purity of surface sculpture and attention to detail which characterise premium vehicles. Around the world, a new generation of buyers have come to expect premium design in all products, regardless of the purchase price.
Built around the driver
Reflecting the fun-to-drive spirit of its exterior design, the interior of the Ford Evos Concept is built around the driver. A stylish and innovative cockpit promises new levels of driving pleasure and driver interaction.
The interior architecture features clean and simple surfaces, with a muscular, athletic character to the slim upper instrument panel, enhanced by bold trapezoidal cut-outs. Contrasting these muscular forms, curvaceous cockpit display surfaces sweep down either side of the driver, providing secondary information about vehicle and infotainment systems.
The concept features a bold red driver’s seat and the vision of unprecedented driver interaction via an advanced driver interface. The two rear seat passengers get an equally special experience, with dedicated touch-screen displays to interact with the vehicle and individually adjustable sports seats.
“Both the exterior and interior of the Ford Evos Concept clearly communicate that this is a driver’s car, so that as soon as people see the vehicle, they will immediately want to get in and drive,” said executive design director Moray Callum.
Aprils Fools day kidding aside, it’s great to see the only American manufacturer who didn’t accept a Government bail-out not only survive and thrive, but pull ahead. There is something to be said for not running to the Government for help.
That said, there are still some challenges. Sales of the Taurus and it’s MKS clone are down 15% and 26.5% March-to March respectively. It may be that these two products are just too large, heavy (such as the morbidly obese SHO at 4368 pounds base weight) and inefficiently designed. Ditto for the platform-mate MKT, down 38%. You’d expect the Lincoln Town Car to be down, too, and it is at -37.5%.
Fusion sales are up 21% in the same period, as well they should be. This car is the right product of the right size and in the right time. Putting it on the excellent last-gen Mazda 6 platform was a great move. Ford product planners must be sweating the details of the upcoming Mondeo-based replacement. It’ll probably drop the V-6 engine options (3 and 3.5 liters), but hopefully it will retain excellent chassis dynamics despite loosing the Mazda”s double A-arm suspension and reverting to ye olde struts. A step back, and it’s all a cost issue that Mazda didn’t accept (in fact, development was held back a year to include the better suspension). Good news is that the European Mondeo already has the EcoBoost 2 liter. We’ll see if “One Ford” is truly “one” so that we get that engine.
Mustang sales are up 46%, as well they should be with the revitalized engine lineup. But this just again proves our point: the market is there for a major investment in an all-new and state of the art platform for the Mustang. And it should be shared with Lincoln (who would absorb most of the cost burden) as a replacement for the pointless MKS. With Ford profits going thru the roof, it’s time to spend on a rear wheel drive platform that is sized to the BMW 3/Infiniti G dimensions. One that shows what Ford engineering is truly capable of, not what they are constrained to do.
Ford Press Release follows:
From Fiesta to F-Series, Consumers See Growing Value in Ford’s Fuel-Efficient Lineup; U.S. March Sales Up 19 Percent
- Ford’s March sales totaled 212,777, up 19 percent versus a year ago
- Fiesta sets U.S. record as monthly sales reach 9,787, up 56 percent versus February
- Fusion and Escape also set monthly sales records, up 21 percent and 25 percent, respectively, versus a year ago
- Explorer sales up 111 percent year over year
- F-Series sales up 25 percent; new V6 engines account for 37 percent of 2011 F-150 retail sales
DEARBORN, Mich., April 1, 2011 – Consumer demand for Ford’s fuel-efficient vehicles continues to grow as March sales increased 19 percent versus a year ago. Year-to-date, Ford sales totaled 496,720, up 16 percent.
“With gasoline prices eclipsing $3.50 a gallon, consumers are placing a high priority on fuel efficiency in every size and kind of vehicle,” said Ken Czubay, Ford vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service. “Customers are rewarding Ford for our investment in new products as well as more efficient engines and transmissions, which save them money at the pump whether they drive Fiestas or F-Series trucks.”
Ford offers 12 vehicles that lead their sales segments in fuel economy, including four vehicles with EPA certified 40 mpg or higher fuel economy ratings – a claim no other full-line automaker can match.
Ford’s new Fiesta set a record in March as monthly sales reached 9,787, up 56 percent from February. Fiesta’s retail share of its segment has increased every month since it was introduced last summer, and Los Angeles continues to be the No. 1 sales region for Fiesta.
Fusion also set a new record with sales of 27,566, up 21 percent versus a year ago.
The Ford Mustang (up 47 percent) and Lincoln MKZ (up 28 percent) also posted higher sales than a year ago. Sales of the MKZ Hybrid reached a record 615, accounting for 20 percent of MKZ retail sales.
Total Focus sales were lower than a year ago (down 12 percent) as the all-new model is just starting to arrive at Ford dealers, but the nameplate’s retail sales were up 16 percent.
Sales of Ford’s utility vehicles were paced by the all-new Ford Explorer, which had its best sales month since June 2007. Explorer sales totaled 12,482, up 111 percent, making the new Explorer Ford’s fastest-turning vehicle in the showroom for a third straight month.
Explorer’s class-leading EPA estimated highway fuel economy of 25 mpg is attracting owners of other makes. Its current conquest rate is 43 percent.
The Escape set a new March sales record – and its second best month overall – with sales of 23,975, up 25 percent versus a year ago. Sales of the new Ford Edge (up 21 percent) and Lincoln MKX (up 12 percent) also were higher as were sales of the Ford Expedition (up 40 percent) and Lincoln Navigator (up 10 percent).
Strong sales to commercial fleet customers as well as higher sales to retail customers powered Ford truck sales growth in March. Sales of Ford’s F-Series truck totaled 53,272, up 25 percent versus a year ago.
In January, Ford launched the 2011 F-150 with four all-new powertrains including two V6s – a 3.7-liter and a 3.5-liter EcoBoost. In March, V6-equipped F150s accounted for 37 percent of all 2011 F-150 retail sales.
“The No. 1 unmet need for full-size pickup truck owners has been fuel economy,” said Doug Scott, Truck Group marketing manager. “The good news is the 2011 Ford F-150 has best-in-class fuel economy, best-in-class capability and power, plus more powertrain choices to suit customers’ different needs.”
Ford’s commercial vehicles also posted strong year-to-year increases. Econoline sales totaled 11,827 (up 13 percent) and Transit Connect sales were 2,690 (up 47 percent).
In March, total sales were 212,777, up 19 percent. Retail sales were up 14 percent and fleet sales were up 29 percent (commercial was up 50 percent, government was up 33 percent and daily rental was up 13 percent).
In the first quarter, total sales were 496,720, up 16 percent. Retail sales were up 20 percent and fleet sales were up 8 percent (commercial was up 34 percent, government was up 11 percent, and daily rental was down 8 percent).
Two independent market research studies cited the growing strength of the Ford brand in March. Ford was named the most considered auto brand among new-car shoppers in Kelley Blue Books’ Market Intelligence Brand Watch study, and Ford was named top full-line automotive brand in the 2011 Harris Poll EquiTrend study.
“Our newest products are helping Ford to connect with customers beyond our traditional geographic areas of strength,” said Czubay. “In the first quarter, our largest retail sales increases were on the west coast and in the northeast with major contributions from the Fiesta and Edge. We believe the new Focus and Explorer will help us to achieve further growth in these and other key markets as even more customers look for fuel-efficient, high-quality vehicles with technology they truly value.”
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Note: The sales data included in this release and the accompanying tables are based largely on data reported by dealers representing their sales to retail and fleet customers.
About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 164,000 employees and about 70 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford’s products, please visit www.ford.com.
What is it that makes Ford so different from the rest? Why is Ford the leader of the electric and hybrid market? Could it be that they didn’t have to run to the Government to be saved? Ford isn’t just an example of ”survival of the fittest”, it’s an example of “dominance of the fittest”.
The Focus Electricwas announced last week, but that was already a known story. We’d seen a working example in action on the old Jay Leno Show, and prototypes have been in test for a couple of years as their new battery and drivetrain technology was developed. Now the next stage of the plan has been previewed at the 2011 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS).
The C-MAX Hybridsignificantly builds upon 1st-generation hybid technology developed for the Escape and Fusion (both of which are due for replacement in the next two years). A significant improvement in gas mileage and drivability will be the result of not only 2nd-generation electronic controls, but also new lithium-ion batteries as well as further development of the existing “powersplit hybrid architecture”. Expect Ford to detail improvements to that architecture further in the next year as the system is finalized for a 2012 delivery. Use of it in the C-MAX is just the beginning of a rollout across several vehicles.
The C-MAX Energi is a plug-in hybrid that can shut down it’s has engine to run solely on electric power. Ford isn’t providing full details of this all-new system yet… we’ll probably have to wait a year for that. But it promises extraordinary mileage and range: Ford will claim even better range than the Chevy Volt.
With these announcements, and much more to come, it would seem to be the a good time to go back to the “Ford has a better idea” advertising theme!
As we’ve said before, this type of technology will eventually be applied to mainstream performance vehicles (some of it is already in use in the Tesla Roadster), and it’s a good thing for us since electric motors make all of their torque from 1 RPM to maximum. We’ll make a prediction (or a call to action) with no inside information at all, purely as an observer: in four years, Ford will announce the next Focus RS, which will offer a turbocharged 2-liter 4 cylinder gas engine of 280 HP, electronically coupled to an electric motor to provide a total of 330 HP and an astounding 400 ft lb of torque. When delivered to the market, it will acheive 36 MPG in the EPA highway rating. This may be wishful thinking, because a 4-wheel drive system would be needed to apply this type of power, but the powertrain at least is feasible.
Ford press release follows:
FORD ELECTRIC VEHICLE PLAN OFFERS REAL CHOICE WITH NEW FOCUS ELECTRIC, C-MAX ENERGI AND C-MAX HYBRID
- Ford is showcasing three new electric models as part of a customer choice-driven strategy, led by the all-new Ford Focus Electric, which will debut in the U.S. in late 2011
- Ford will launch the C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid electric vehicle and C-MAX Hybrid in 2012 in North America and in 2013 in Europe. Both will use the company’s critically acclaimed powersplit hybrid architecture and advanced lithium-ion battery systems; C-MAX Energi will deliver better charge-sustaining fuel economy than the Chevrolet Volt
- Ford’s electrified vehicles are just one part of a broad commitment to delivering top fuel efficiency with every vehicle and providing affordable fuel efficiency for millions of customers
- Ford is on track to bring five new electrified vehicles to North America by 2012 and Europe by 2013. Ease of use and an engaging ownership experience is a key part of the strategy
DETROIT, Jan. 10, 2011 – Differentiating itself with an electrification strategy that emphasizes customer choice, Ford is introducing a family of electrified vehicles – including its first all-electric passenger sedan, the all-new Focus Electric.
The debut of C-MAX Energi and C-MAX Hybrid at the 2011 North American International Auto Show, on the heels of the newly unveiled Focus Electric, builds on Ford’s electrified vehicle portfolio, bringing expanded choice to customers and further strengthening the company’s sustainability strategy.
The fuel-free, all-electric rechargeable Focus Electric passenger car will launch in North America in late 2011 and Europe in 2012. The C-MAX Energi is the company’s first-ever plug-in hybrid production electric vehicle that comes to market beginning in 2012, targeting AT-PZEV (Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle) status. The C-MAX Hybrid is a next-generation full hybrid version of the five-passenger multi-activity vehicle.
The new-generation Ford electrified vehicles introduce new features and technologies – led by a unique version of the MyFord Touch™ driver connect system especially for electric vehicles, a new value charging feature powered by Microsoft and, for North America, a smartphone app called MyFordMobile that helps plug-in owners control their vehicles remotely.
“By providing a variety of electrified vehicles, we are making it easier for our customers to embrace this fuel-saving technology,” said Bill Ford, executive chairman, Ford Motor Company. “This strategy is true to our heritage of making innovative technology available to as many people as possible and to our vision of developing great products, building a strong business and contributing to a better world.”
Ford electric trio
The three new Ford electrified products build on Ford’s experience as America’s top domestic producer of electrified vehicles with 140,000 hybrid products on the road today:
- Focus Electric – Based on the all-new Ford Focus mainstream vehicle, the Focus Electric will offer adequate range to cover the majority of daily driving habits plus a mile-per-gallon equivalent better than Chevrolet Volt and competitive with other battery electric vehicles. It will charge in half the time of a Nissan Leaf
- C-MAX Energi – Based on the new Ford C-MAX five-passenger multi-activity vehicle, the C-MAX Energi targets more than 500 miles of driving range using the battery and engine. It delivers better charge-sustaining fuel economy than the Chevrolet Volt
- C-MAX Hybrid – The full hybrid variant of C-MAX is targeted to deliver better fuel economy than Ford Fusion Hybrid, the most fuel-efficient sedan in America. It also leverages the company’s powersplit hybrid architecture and uses a lighter, smaller lithium-ion battery system
The three new models leverage Ford’s global C-car platform and will be built alongside the all-new Ford Focus at the company’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich., with production powered in part by one of the largest solar energy generator systems in the state. Ford will build the new C-MAX Energi and Hybrid models for European markets at its plant in Valencia, Spain, as previously announced.
Ford’s rollout of five new hybrid andelectric passenger vehicles began in December with the first deliveries of its 2011 Ford Transit Connect Electric – a small commercial van built in collaboration with Azure Dynamics. Ford will round out its lineup of new electrified vehicles in North America and Europe with another next-generation hybrid vehicle, in 2012 and 2013, respectively, which will be named later.
“Ford’s plan to deliver a full range of exciting, energy-efficient vehicles is on track and fully charged,” said Sherif Marakby, director of Ford’s electrification programs and engineering. “Focus Electric, C-MAX Energi and C-MAX Hybrid demonstrate Ford’s commitment to delivering significant fuel economy gains and reduced CO2 emissions to meet our customers’ functional needs without compromising their driving enjoyment.”
Ford’s next-generation hybrid, plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles will build on the company’s success with its Fusion Hybrid and Escape Hybrid – America’s most fuel-efficient midsize sedan and most fuel-efficient SUV, respectively. The 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid joined the North American lineup last fall and is the most fuel-efficient luxury car in America. In total, Ford has more than 140,000 hybrid vehicles on the road to date.
“One technology does not work for all customers – hybrids, plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles each offer distinctly different advantages,” said Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s group vice president of Global Product Development. “By leveraging our global platforms, we are able to offer our customers more choices of electrified solutions as part of a fuel-efficient product lineup.”
Ford is designing its electric vehicles to provide outstanding fuel efficiency with no compromise on driving enjoyment. Smooth regenerative braking, confident acceleration, a comfortable interior and smart driver information features helped earn the Fusion Hybrid the 2010 MOTOR TREND Car of the Year® award and a place on many best green car lists.
“More than any other electric vehicle on the market, Focus Electric loses none of the dynamics and driving quality of a traditional car Marakby. “They share many of the same high-quality components as their gasoline- and diesel-powered counterparts, while delivering excellent fuel economy and no-compromise driving enjoyment.”
The lithium-ion advantage
Focus Electric and upcoming hybrid/plug-in hybrid vehicles will use advanced lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery systems. Each system is smartly designed to maximize use of common, high-quality components, such as control board hardware that has proven field performance in Ford’s critically acclaimed hybrid vehicles.
Li-ion battery packs offer a number of advantages over the nickel-metal-hydride (NiMH) batteries that power today’s hybrid vehicles. In general, they are 25 to 30 percent smaller and 50 percent lighter, making them easier to package in a vehicle, and can be tuned to increase power to boost acceleration, or to increase energy to extend driving distance.
Future owners of Focus Electric will recharge their vehicle’s on-board Li-ion battery packs using the recommended 240-volt wall-mounted charge station that will be sold separately or the 120-volt convenience cord that comes with the vehicle. Focus Electric customers are likelyto recharge the gas-free vehicle daily.
Daily charging is recommended for C-MAX Energi as well to maximize the use of electric driving mode, but is not necessary for vehicle operation. Thanks to the efficiencies of its battery system, the plug-in hybrid easily recharges 100 percent overnight on a standard household power outlet. C-MAX Hybrid requires no charging.
Owners of the new Focus Electric and the C-MAX Energi will enjoy advantages when it comes to charging their vehicles.
A full recharge of the Focus Electric is expected to take three to four hours at home with the 240-volt charge station –half the time as the Nissan Leaf. When fully charged, Focus Electric is designed to offer adequate range to cover the majority of daily driving habits of most motorists. The Focus Electric will offer a better miles-per-gallon equivalent than Chevrolet Volt and competitive with other battery electric vehicles.
C-MAX Energi will deliver better charge-sustaining fuel economy than the Chevrolet Volt. The C-MAX Energi will achieve more than 500 miles (800 kilometers) of overall driving range using battery and engine – more than any other plug-in or extended-range electric vehicle. Charging the plug-in hybrid vehicle allows customers to significantly increase their driving in all-electric mode and drastically reduce their use of the on-board gas engine.
When the cord set connector is plugged into the Focus Electric or C-MAX Energi charge port, which is conveniently located between the driver’s door and front wheel well, it activates a light ring that loops around the port twice in acknowledgement of connectivity. The light ring then illuminates in quadrants as the vehicle charges. Flashing quadrants represent charge in progress and solid-lit quadrants show stages of charge completion. When the entire ring is solidly lit, the vehicle is fully charged.
A smarter gauge – MyFord Touch for EVs
Focus Electric and C-MAX Energi also will feature a suite of smart driver information systems – led by a unique version of the MyFord Touch driver connect system – designed to help vehicle owners maximize fuel efficiency, extend electric range, plan the most eco-friendly route and manage the battery recharge process. This is a key part of the Ford strategy to make electrified vehicle ownership a real experience for customers.
C-MAX Hybrid also will leverage some of these same technologies to help drivers get more miles per gallon.
In Ford’s next-generation hybrids, the MyFord Touch system has been enhanced with thoughtful features especially for the electric vehicle experience. Its dual-display digital instrument cluster can be configured by the driver to show different levels of information, including fuel and battery power levels, as well as average and instant miles per gallon.
The cluster’s new MyView feature allows drivers to access even more vehicle data such as the electrical demands of vehicle accessories including air conditioning, which influences fuel economy and the electric driving range of Focus Electric and C-MAX Energi.
Focus Electric owners will have access to basic data, such as battery state of charge, distance to charge point, the corresponding budget and expected range surplus, which are all easily visible on the two 4.2-inch full-color LCD screens flanking the centrally mounted speedometer. It offers unrivaled possibilities for personalization.
In Ford’s next-generation hybrids – as in its current hybrids – long-term fuel efficiency is displayed in two ways, either as a traditional chart or using an innovative display that shows a growing leafy vine on the right side of the cluster. The more efficient a customer is, the more lush and beautiful the leaves and vines, creating a unique visual reward for the driver’s efforts.
Similarly, the display in Focus Electric uses blue butterflies to represent the surplus range beyond one’s charge point destination – the more there are, the greater the range. Ford designers were inspired by the phenomenon known as “the butterfly effect,” in which a small change, like choosing to drive an EV, can have an enormous impact.
When each trip is completed, the Focus Electric MyFord Touch screens come alive to inform the driver about fuel saved, energy reclaimed through regenerative braking and charge information.
Off-board, Focus Electric and C-MAX Energi owners in North America can maintain constant contact with the car anywhere they have mobile phone or web access using the Ford-developed MyFord Mobile app.
MyFord Mobile enables customers – via a smartphone/feature phone app or secure Ford website – to get instant vehicle status information, perform key functions remotely, monitor the car’s state of charge and current range, get alerts when it requires charging, remotely program charge settings and download vehicle data for analysis.
The feature also allows the owner to program the vehicle to use electricity from the grid to heat or cool the battery and cabin while plugged in. For example, during hot summer months, owners can preprogram the car the evening before to be fully charged – and fully cooled to a particular temperature – by a certain time the following morning. Users can also locate the vehicle with GPS, remotely start the vehicle and remotely lock and unlock the car doors.
Working with MapQuest®, MyFord Mobile can communicate charge station and other points of interest to Focus Electric using SYNC’s Traffic, Directions and Information (TDI). Turn-by-turn guidance is provided by SYNC or through the in-car map-based Navigation System where available. Drivers can also get up-to-date charging station information in their vehicle directlythrough SYNC TDI simply by connecting to SYNC Services.
A value charging feature, powered by Microsoft, allows Ford customers to reduce their electricity costs by taking advantage of off-peak or other reduced rates from their utility without a complicated set-up process.
Microsoft-powered value charging is an all-new feature uniquely offered by Ford.
“Life with rechargeable vehicles holds enormous potential – it’s a new frontier for the auto industry and its customers,” said Marakby. “However, the commercialization of rechargeable vehicles is not something the auto industry can do alone – it will take broad-based collaboration and systems solutions. That’s why Ford is working closely with its technology partners, the utility industry and government agencies. By working together, we can ensure a smooth transition to a greener future.”
Investing in tomorrow’s technology today
Ford’s commitment to electrification reaches beyond product development to the manufacturing floor. The company has invested approximately $1 billion to transform its Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich., to build the all-new Focus, Focus Electric, C-MAX Energi and C-MAX Hybrid.
Ford teamed with Detroit Edison, Xtreme Power andthe state of Michigan to establish one of the largest solar power generation systems in the state at Michigan Assembly Plant. The renewable energy captured by the project’s primary solar energy system will help power vehicle production.
The company also moved battery system design and development in-house, shifting production of the battery packs for its next-generation hybrid from Mexico to Michigan. Ford will produce hybrid transaxles at its Van Dyke Transmission facility in Sterling Heights, Mich., beginning in 2012.
“The overall investment underscores our commitment to developing core competencies, retraining our engineering and manufacturing work force and attracting new talent to the auto industry to deliver a full range of electrified vehicles to customers,” said Kuzak. “As customers move to more fuel-efficient vehicles, we’ll be there with more of the products they really want.”