This is the Ford Evos, a new design concept that bears a striking resemblance to a futuristic Mustang, or Capri, or.. who cares, let’s just hope they build it.
Ford describe it as “..the ultimate expression of Ford’s design and technology vision..” and that “..the Evos Concept introduces a new design direction for Ford..”
The dramatic looking four-door fastback concept signals a significant transformation of the Ford brand, away from the Kinetic styling of recent years.
Whilst the Evos might look like a 2-door Coupe, its spectacular hinged gull-wing doors open to reveal a unique four-door, four-seat layout.
Ford’s state-of-the-art lithium-ion plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrain provides next-generation performance and fuel economy, whilst cloud connectivity is said to boost efficiency by optimizing the choice of powertrain modes for every journey. 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.
“Access to historical driver behaviour and travel patterns allows us to calculate the optimal fuel and energy efficiency by predicting the destination,” said said Paul Mascarenas, chief technical officer and vice president of Ford Research and Innovation. “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.”
It’s interesting to note the emphasis placed on the Evos being a ‘global’ Design, it represents a significant transformation of the Ford brand and is a key part of the new One Ford global product strategy.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGP7ULz-bY4&w=635&h=391]
“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.”
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!”[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j79KgJbh9L8&w=635&h=391]
An adaptive driving experience
Perhaps the most controversial, yet interesting aspect of Ford’s new ‘Cloud-Connected Vision’ is when the capability extends to 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 is said to take driving engagement to a new level.
Anyone who has ever found themselves fighting a car’s stability control systems, naturally correcting a slide whilst the nanobots reign it in at the same time, will have reservations about the evolution of computers changing yet more of our driving experience – dynamically.
New design DNA, but more importantly a new model..
Whilst Ford say that key design elements of the Evos will be applied to forthcoming Ford vehicles, we’re more interested in whether we’re likely to see the Evos as a production model anytime soon.
Whilst the (now) conservative looking Ford Mondeo was derived from the far more exciting 2005 Ford Iosis concept, we’re optimistic that the Evos will translate into something a little more dramatic. A global (Mustang) pony car? Perhaps. The New Capri? Possible. But given Ford’s track record, the Evos is more likely to spawn a completely new model, with few, if any, links to the past.
“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.”
“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 (4.50 metres), the width of a CD-car (1.97 metres), and the height of a sports coupe (1.36 metres) the Ford Evos Concept has a powerful, sporting stance. The designers have created the impression of a classic GT car, but with a contemporary feel.
“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.
Let’s hope they give us the opportunity to drive it for ourselves.