The Evos concept is an important concept for Ford as it showcases the first truly global design language for the company. Basically if you don’t like the way the Evos looks, then you probably aren’t going to be buying a new Ford, in any country, for a few years. The Ford Evos is a sleek looking four-door four-seater which looks more like a 2-seat sports coupe. It has a plug-in rechargeable hybrid powertrain and some very, very clever electronic gizmos in the cabin.
The Ford Evos is the headline vehicle, so far, for the company’s ‘One Ford’ program. Over the next few years Ford will be gradually reducing the number of different styling themes which it currently uses for different countries and markets until there is just one global Ford style. American Ford models won’t be any different from European or Asian Fords – in appearance anyway.
The Evos is a promising start then, especially if you’re trying to cater to a wide variety of tastes and cultures. The final design was honed through an unprecedented collaboration between Ford’s design teams from its studios around the world. Not an easy task when there are eight studios with a total of 1,150 staff. Talk about design by committee!
“The design direction that created the Ford Evos Concept is the result of intensive work by the Ford global design team to hone the brand’s future direction,” said J Mays, group vice president, Design and chief creative officer. “Our leadership team – including Martin Smith and Moray Callum – has fostered a spirit of collaboration and healthy competition which allows each studio to explore creative approaches for future products.”
Now the Evos has set the mold for Ford’s new styling language, Ford’s designers around the world are busy creating the next generation of Ford vehicles to continue One Ford policy. The first production vehicles using the Evos’ style as a template are due to make their public debut in 2012.
But the Ford Evos isn’t just about style. It also features an array of technology and gadgets which harness the power of cloud computing and the latest in predictive computing to try and make the driver and passengers comfortable and entertained.
Derrick Kuzak, group vice president of Global Product Development at Ford explained: “Our goal is to focus on enriching a customer’s every experience with their vehicle – by personalising it, adapting it, and creating unique, unexpected features that surprise and delight them. 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.”
Basically, over time, the Evos will learn its driver’s habits and then start to offer suggestions which would make the trip more enjoyable. For example, because the Evos would be wirelessly connected to the entertainment systems at home, it could automatically re-tune the radio to the station you were listening to in the house when you get in the car. Or it could adjust the air conditioning setting to match the temperature in the house. It could even activate the climate control automatically to match the driver’s daily routine. For example, if the driver takes their Evos to work every Monday to Friday, and leaves the house at roughly 8:30 every morning, the Evos’ onboard computer would learn this routine and automatically activate the climate control at 8:15 – if it detected the cabin temperature was too hot or too cold for comfort.
By wirelessly communicating with the house the Evos could automatically open and close the garage door, and even switch off the house lights! Of course for most of these features to work you’d have to have a house with almost as much computing power as NASA’s control center. And if you weren’t a creature of habit then most of the features would just be a constant irritation. Personally I don’t have, or like, routines. So a car which turned off the garage lights just because I’d decided to pull it out onto the driveway to give it a wash wouldn’t be in my possession for very long.
But there are a few intelligent features of the Ford Evos which would be useful to most people. Using sat-nav the Evos could overlay weather data to adjust the car’s handling to suit the conditions. Or it could adjust the suspension to suit the road’s contours. If it remembers that there is a particularly fun bit of road ahead where the driver normally likes to hit the apexes then it might stiffen up the suspension for better handling. Or if there’s a section where the driver normally slows down due to some deteriorating roads, then it might soften it up a bit to absorb more of the bumps.
There is also a system which monitors the air quality in the cabin. These sensors, coupled with a filtration system are designed to help allergy sufferers, especially in pollen season. In addition, by using the power of cloud computing and online weather and pollen count information, it can suggest routes which have less pollen in the surrounding air.
Powering the Ford Evos concept is a hybrid drivetrain. The 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.
Again by using its clever little brain and wireless connectivity, the Evos can provide the driver with navigation or performance information to improve efficiency.
This capability would further enhance the performance of Ford’s advanced plug-in hybrid 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.