Archive for the 'Future Vehicles' Category

27
Dec
12

Ford Experiments With In-Car Sensors To Predict Driver Behavior, Cut Stress

DEARBORN, Michigan — Ford predicts that in-car sensors will be the next big thing in vehicles.

Biometric sensors will measure the stress level of the driver and help to personalize driver-assist technologies, the automaker said.

The 2013 Ford Fusion previews the future, with 74 sensors that “can monitor the perimeter around the car and see into places that are not readily visible from the driver’s seat,” Ford said.

“Fusion features an unprecedented level of sensors for its driver-assist technologies,” said Paul Mascarenas, Ford’s chief technical officer, in a statement.

Ford said it is researching the use of real-time sensor data — both radar and camera-based — that can help to evaluate external factors affecting driver attention, such as traffic congestion. The real-time sensor data can cut potential distractions, such as an incoming phone call.

Ford researchers are also looking at ways to predict driver behavior to “help optimize and configure vehicle controls for improved performance such as better energy management,” the automaker said.

The automaker is also experimenting with “advanced machine learning.” This technology is previewed in EV+, a feature found in the 2013 Ford Fusion and C-Max Energi plug-in hybrids. It “learns” typical locations of charging and then “automatically maximizes electric-only driving mode when nearing those locations,” the automaker noted.

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05
Nov
12

2013 Ford C-Max Energi Plug-In Adds To C-Max Hybrid Sales

source: Green Car Reports

The 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid has now reached dealerships throughout the country, selling 3,182 units in October.

But Ford had an “October surprise” in store: The company sold 144 of the plug-in hybrid C-Max Energi version as well.

That car hasn’t been driven by any members of the automotive media, and Ford communications staff have been vague about when it would go on sale, saying only things like “at the end of the year.”

Well, October kicks off the fourth quarter of 2012, so perhaps that’s what they meant.

Ford’s October sales of 144 C-Max Energi hatchbacks, plus another 118 Ford Focus Electric battery-electric cars, contributed to the highest monthly sales for plug-in electric cars since modern plug-ins went on sale in December 2010.

The company issued a press release proudly touting the October sales of its hybrid C-Max, and comparing them to the Toyota Prius V wagon, which sold 2,769.

As Ford’s first dedicated hybrid–a model that has no standard gasoline version–the C-Max has to compete against the best-selling Toyota Prius, now a range of four cars including a plug-in hybrid version.

One of its jobs is to lure new customers into Ford showrooms in hybrid-heavy markets like the West Coast. (Those markets notably do not include Michigan, Ford’s home state.)

And according to Ford, it’s working.

“One in four C-MAX Hybrids sold in October were sold in California,” the release said, “with Los Angeles as the best-selling region and San Francisco following in second.”

“Initial conquest data show that more than 70 percent of C-MAX Hybrid buyers traded in a competitive model or added it without trading in another vehicle,” Ford continued.

“And one third of C-MAX Hybrid customers in October said they cross-shopped the Toyota Prius and Prius V.”

The Toyota Prius line as a whole sold 16,774 units in October, and Toyota also sold hybrid models of several of its conventional cars as well, for a total of 20,273 hybrids last month.

Ford’s total of 4,612 hybrids sold in October, while its best month ever, still puts it in second place in U.S. hybrid sales overall–but decisively ahead of Honda, which sold 948 hybrids throughout the month.

The one remaining question about the C-Max Hybrid is its real-world gas mileage. Green Car Reports has now done two short tests of Ford’s latest hybrid (here and here) and has not come close to its rated efficiency of 47 mpg combined.

Real-world mileage is likely to be much in the public eye with Hyundai and Kia having to restate their window-sticker figures and offer refunds to customers who bought cars with higher MPG ratings than were justified–due to errors in the EPA testing it submitted for certification, Hyundai says.

While the 144 C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid sales in October came as a surprise, Ford notes that the car is now on sale at Ford dealerships that have been certified to sell plug-in cars in half the states in the country.

Its role is to compete head-to-head with the Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid, which has a lower electric range–6 to 11 miles–but carries the trusted Prius name.

09
Oct
12

2013 Ford Explorer Sport The twin-turbo EcoBoost V-6 helps the Explorer explore its limits.

BY CSABA CSERE

Although “sport” is right there in the term “sport-utility vehicle,” those vehicles’ inherently heavy weights, higher centers of gravity, and blocky shapes usually preclude sports-car fun, no matter how much power you shoehorn under the hood. Most SUVs are little more than shuttle buses, a task for which they are well-suited.

Still, there are some loons who want their family hauler to haul ass—witness the chariots of lunacy in our most recent hot-rod SUV comparo. To tap this market, Ford has just introduced the Explorer Sport.

In a nutshell, the Explorer Sport is simply an Explorer fitted with the Taurus SHO’s 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6, that makes 365 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. Hit the throttle, and it’s pretty clear this is not your usual seven-seat Ford—it rockets up to 80 mph before the acceleration starts to tail off. Zero to 60 times fall from about eight seconds for the naturally aspirated V-6 Explorer to around six in the Sport.

The powertrain is quiet and very smooth. Only at low speeds do you hear much engine noise, and what you do hear sounds angry enough for a family vehicle. To handle the elevated engine torque, the Explorer Sport only comes with all-wheel drive and Ford’s system allocates the power as needed to maximize traction. Even so, a full-throttle launch reveals traces of torque steer, although this disappears once the transmission shifts into second gear.

Continue reading ‘2013 Ford Explorer Sport The twin-turbo EcoBoost V-6 helps the Explorer explore its limits.’

06
Jul
12

Ford C-MAX Hybrid Aims for 47 MPG to Beat Prius v as Most Fuel-Efficient, Affordable Hybrid Utility Vehicle in America

DEARBORN – Ford’s new C-MAX Hybrid soon will make a big statement in the largest hybrid segment with projected leading fuel economy of 47 mpg city – beating the Toyota Prius v by 3 mpg, plus a $1,300-lower base price.

The segment for small hybrids such as the C-MAX Hybrid and Prius accounts for 65 percent of all hybrid sales. Ford expects about half of C-MAX buyers to be conquest customers trading in competitive models.

Ford has simultaneously increased hybrid efficiency and performance while reducing cost. The result is an expected payback period of two years for the hybrid technology premium compared with leading small crossovers. This is about half of the four-year period Ford research shows could trigger more mainstream hybrid sales.

Continue reading ‘Ford C-MAX Hybrid Aims for 47 MPG to Beat Prius v as Most Fuel-Efficient, Affordable Hybrid Utility Vehicle in America’

04
May
12

Ford prices 2013 Focus ST from $24,495* [UPDATE: Configurator launches]

UPDATE: The Focus ST has officially been added to Ford’s configurator. Click here to build one yourself.

Well now, the inexpensive performance game just got considerably more interesting. Ford has officially dropped pricing on its upcoming 2013 Focus ST, and it starts at $24,495 (*including a $795 delivery charge). That kind of coin will net you a EcoBoost 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine good for a whopping 252 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque, along with a torque-steer compensation system that works in conjunction with electronic power steering to keep the nose pointed in the right direction. If you’re keeping track, those power metrics are slightly north of the figures Ford had previously released. A variable-ratio steering rack toes the line between sport and comfort while the sport suspension sits the chassis 10 mm closer to the ground than the stock configuration.

That fire-spitting four-cylinder breathes easy through a free-flowing exhaust, and interior options like Recaro bucket seats give the cabin a little pedigree. Of course, massive wheels and plenty of aero work are both part of the package as well. What’s more, Ford says it will give early buyers a GoPro HD Hero2 Motorsports camera when they pick up the keys. Sweet.

The entry price puts the Focus ST well below fellow front-drive competitors like the Volkswagen GTI and Mazdaspeed3, but within spitting distance of playful hardware like the Toyobaru twins and the all-wheel drive Subaru WRX. Suddenly, it appears we live in a world where cheap speed is in abundance.

 

04
May
12

At 662 HP, 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 Certified as World’s Most Powerful V8! Segment-Leading Fuel Efficiency

DEARBORN, Mich., April 26, 2012, – The all-new supercharged 5.8-liter powerplant in the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 has been officially SAE-certified as the most powerful series production V8 in the world with peak output of 662 horsepower and 631 lb.-ft. of torque. That’s more power and torque than low volume sports cars costing tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars more than the GT500, which is the most fuel-efficient vehicle in its segment. In fact the 2013 GT500 is the most fuel-efficient car with over 550 horsepower in any segment available in America.
Unlike high-strung engines found in much more expensive exotic supercars, the GT500 engine generates its massive thrust throughout its operating range with 395 lb.-ft. of torque available just off idle at 1,000 rpm. More than 90 percent of the peak torque is available from 2,200 to 5,800 rpm so that no matter when you squeeze the go pedal, the GT500 will just get up and run.
The combination of the new TVS 2.3-liter supercharger, twin overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder ensures this stallion can breathe all the way to 7,000 rpm with the peak power production coming at 6,500 rpm and holding fairly steady right to the rev limit.
“Our goal is to create outstanding all-around performance cars, not just stoplight-to-stoplight sprinters,” said Jamal Hameedi, SVT chief engineer. “We’ve backed up this amazing powerplant with a more refined chassis tuning that helps keep the rubber on the pavement without punishing the driver’s spine and six-pot Brembo brakes that dissipate speed with ease stop after stop.”
The broad, flat torque curve of the GT500 engine makes it tractable and easy to drive whether trolling along in traffic or powering out of a turn on a twisting country road. With more than enough grunt to push the coupe to 200 mph and beyond, the chassis has been tuned to absorb the road imperfections that can cause instability at high speeds. The revised front fascia and splitter help manage the flow of air around and under the GT500 so that it offers 33 percent more effective aero loading at 160 mph compared to the 2011 model and feels more firmly planted.
29
Mar
12

2013 Ford Explorer Sport: Basically, An SHO

The 2013 Ford Explorer, with its dramatic looks and somewhat less inspiring performance, has been due a truly potent version, some might say, since the V-8 of the last model died with it. AsFord’s solution to the V-8 power requirement while delivering (slightly) better fuel economy, the V-6 EcoBoost engine makes good sense.

But does it make sense in the Explorer? Dynamically, it’s uninspiring–particularly when compared to the likes of the Flex, or even the Edge. But more power means more towing, better highway passing, and more overall flexibility, as well as more money at the pump–the Explorer Sport only yields 16 mpg city and 22 mpg highway. Ford says it’s the most efficient high-performance SUV on the market.

Those with an eye to minimizing the Explorer’s thirst already have a good option, however: the smaller EcoBoost brother, the 2.0-liter four-cylinder. Rated at 28 mpg highway, that smaller EcoBoost engine is on the very efficient end of the spectrum for conventional crossover SUVs.

The larger direct-injection 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 won’t deliver such friendly figures, but those with a taste for power will find the tradeoff sweet: 350 horsepower in place of 240. Driving all four wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission, it’s basically an Explorer SHO–especially since the Explorer and Taurus share some of their architecture as well. It’s two full seconds quicker to 60 mph than the fastest non-Sport Explorer.

Continue reading ‘2013 Ford Explorer Sport: Basically, An SHO’




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