Σε λιγότερο από μια εβδομάδα θα το παρουσιάσει στην έκθεση του Los Angeles τον Νοέμβριο και η Ford έδωσε δύο τρία video από το ολοκαίνουργιο Escape (Kuga στην Ευρώπη). Το αυτοκίνητο θα βασίζεται στο πρωτότυπο Verterk και μηχανικά θα είναι διαθέσιμο με 3 τετρακύλινδρους κινητήρες. Δύο EcoBoost 1.600 cc και 2.000 cc, καθώς και με έναν 2.5-λιτρο Ti-VCT.
Στα video βλέπουμε το εσωτερικό του, το νέο του κάθισμα, το πως η Ford το έκανε φιλικότερο προς το περιβάλλον, αλλά και την ειδική εφαρμογή που έβγαλε η Ford για το Escape.
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.
Tiny Cell Technology Wins Engineering Award, Helps Boost Fuel Economy in New Ford Escape
- Ford named “Grand Award Winner” at the 2011 Society of Plastic Engineers “Most Innovative Use of Plastics Awards” competition for MuCell instrument panel innovation on the new Ford Escape
- The MuCell® process, invented at MIT and then developed for commercial use by Trexel, involves the highly controlled use of a gas such as CO2 or nitrogen in the injection-molding process, which creates a uniform microcellular material structure
- This is the first-time the MuCell process technology, which supports lightweighting and results in fuel savings, has been used in a vehicle’s instrument panel
DEARBORN, Mich., Nov. 10, 2011 – Microscopic cells are helping to save weight, and ultimately fuel in future Ford vehicles, starting with the instrument panel of the all-new Escape. It is the first time the MuCell process has been used in an instrument panel, the largest automotive component molded using the process.
Invented by MIT, and subsequently acquired by Trexel in 1995, the MuCell process was initially created for development and commercial use in the injection molding industry worldwide. The MuCell process involves the highly controlled use of a gas such as CO2 or nitrogen in the injection-molding process, which creates millions of micron-sized bubbles in uniform configurations, lowering the weight of the plastic part.
“Ford is focused on leveraging innovations in materials that save weight and boost fuel economy, helping our vehicles travel farther on less gas,” said Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s group vice president of global product development. “MuCell is a great example of this effort.”
Creating the instrument panel structure in microcellular foam saves an estimated $3 per vehicle in the United States vs. solid injection molding. Weight also is reduced by more than 1 lb., molding cycle time is reduced 15 percent and molding clamp tonnage is reduced 45 percent.
“We are pleased that Ford recognizes the immense potential MuCell holds for vehicle cost and weight savings,” said Steve Braig, president and CEO of Trexel. We’re now working with Ford to apply the MuCell process in a strategic way for many more applications as they incorporate MuCell into their design guidelines.”
MuCell first makes its debut in the instrument panel (IP) of the all-new Ford Escape, helping to reduce the weight of the IP by one pound. Weight savings of a little more than one pound may seem insignificant, but plastic parts are an area where it is particularly challenging to save weight without sacrificing strength, durability or function.
This innovative microcellular foaming technology also saves petroleum as well as reducing overhead and energy costs by reducing the amount of time it takes to produce plastic parts.
The MuCell process has already been used successfully in Ford vehicles in Europe for valve covers, along with heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.
The MuCell process is slated for use in the production of instrument panels, along with other applications, in future Ford vehicles beginning next year following its debut in the new Escape.
The all-new Escape which makes its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show on Nov. 16, goes on sale next spring.
MuCell Captures Top Prize Ford was named the “Grand Award Winner” at 2011 Society of Plastic Engineers “Most Innovative Use of Plastics Awards” competition for MuCell instrument panel innovation on the 2013 Ford Escape. The Society of Plastics Engineers awarded Ford the honor at the association’s 41st Auto Innovation Awards Competition on November 9th.
In total, Ford engineering teams won four of the competition’s eight categories including Body Interior, Chassis/Hardware, Process/Assembly/Enabling Technologies and Safety.
Over the four decades the plastics’ competition has been held, Ford has been a leader by driving new technology with industry-first new plastic materials and processing innovations. Twenty Ford teams submitted projects and four of those teams won in the eight possible categories.
|Body Interior||Overmold Cushion Suspension on the Ford Escape/Kuga|
|Process/Assembly/Enabling Technologies||10% Reactor Grade Talc with MuCell Instrument Panel on the Ford Escape/Kuga|
|Chassis Hardware||Power Window Motor Output Gear and Shaft on the Ford Focus|
|Safety||Reinforced Airbag Lid in Foam on the Ford Focus|
MyFord Mobile App with Value Charging and Plug-to-Plug Routing Honored with CES Best of Innovation Award
- MyFord® Mobile app recognized with International CES Best of Innovation Design and Engineering Award in the software and mobile applications category
- With Value Charging powered by Microsoft delivering utility rate data, the MyFord Mobile app will give Focus Electric drivers unique “set it and forget it charging” for lower cost of ownership
- MyFord Mobile users can monitor charging, receive alerts, find charge stations, plan trips and do more from their smartphones or computers for an effortless transition to a battery electric vehicle lifestyle
DEARBORN, Mich., Nov. 9, 2011 – The MyFord® Mobile app aims to make driving a new Focus Electric from Ford as hassle-free as it is green by adding several industry-first features. The remote vehicle monitoring and management features that are available only through MyFord Mobile will be honored with the 2012 International CES Innovation Design and Engineering Award.
“MyFord Mobile is designed to help Focus Electric drivers maximize their gasoline-free driving in a worry-free, low-effort way,” said Bill Frykman, Product & Business Development, Ford Connected Services. “Drivers can take advantage of information stored off-board to automatically charge their cars at the lowest possible cost and reduce range anxiety with plug-to-plug route planning.”
The MyFord Mobile app harnesses the power of cloud computing through a unique partnership with Microsoft, to keep track of when local utilities switch to lower off-peak charging rates, helping to minimize the cost of ownership of the battery-powered Focus Electric.
Drivers just need to enable a single setting in the app and then plug in their cars without ever worrying about what time the rates change in their area. The network monitors utility rate schedules and automatically transmits a signal to the vehicle through embedded cellular connectivity to start charging at the lowest cost. “With its quick 3 to 4 hour charge time using a 240-volt home charging station installed by Best Buy, the Focus Electric will be ready to go when the owner heads out in the morning,” said Frykman.
The capabilities of the network also enable drivers to plan customized trips using navigation data from Mapquest. Drivers can use the app to find charging stations, estimate whether they can reach a station with the currently available charge, and create multi-stop, plug-to-plug journeys for their daily driving needs.
The vehicle connectivity module and app also provide the driver with alerts when charging is complete or if charging is interrupted due to being unplugged or a power outage. The vehicle interior can be preheated or cooled while still plugged in using power from the grid to maximize driving range.
“We want to give Focus Electric drivers the opportunity to maximize the EV ownership experience,” said Frykman. “We’re honored CES has recognized our efforts to use the latest connectivity and cloud technology to augment the capabilities of the car to promote greener driving.”
The MyFord Mobile app will be available for use on most major smartphone platforms including Android, BlackBerry and iPhone. The same capabilities can also be accessed through a mobile web app for other platforms and a secure Ford website from any Internet-connected computer.