Making its global debut at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show is the Ford Evos Concept. However, we can’t get too excited: “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,” said Derrick Kuzak of Global Product Development.
"Our goal is to focus on enriching a customer's experience with their vehicle – by personalizing it, adapting it, and creating unique features," said Kuzak. "In the Evos Concept, this is extended to the area of connectivity, where the intent is not to convert the vehicle into a smartphone, but rather to provide a personalized and safe connection to the outside world in an enriching manner designed for the vehicle."
While today’s Fords provide drivers with many personalization options, cloud connectivity will enable future Fords to take the experience to the next level. Drawing from a detailed understanding of the driver’s preferences and driving habits, the Evos Concept combines this information with additional data from the cloud, such as the driver’s work schedule and local traffic or weather conditions. This information provides a personalized 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 Paul Mascarenas from Ford. “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 streaming at home, or adjust the interior to the 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.
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 the handling and performance to the road ahead and to 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.
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.
Completing the vision for the Ford Evos Concept is a state-of-the-art lithium-ion plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrain providing the same performance and 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 gasoline engine to work together or separately to maximize efficiency. The advanced powertrain typically runs in all-electric mode before switching to charge-sustaining hybrid mode for continued 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. The cloud-optimised powertrain would ‘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. This capability would further enhance the performance of Ford’s advanced PHEV technology, which offers a driving range of more than 500 miles using the battery and engine – more than any other plug-in or extended-range electric vehicle. To provide a fitting vehicle to introduce the new design language, the Ford Evos Concept was conceived as a dramatic fastback, combining a new profile with innovative proportions. Attention-grabbing lines conceal a four-door, four-seat layout which combines dynamic appearance with surprising practicality.
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 interior architecture features simple surfaces, with a muscular character to the slim upper panel, enhanced by bold trapezoidal cut-outs. Contrasting these muscular forms, a 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.