Ford has been talking for months about its plan to bring five electrified vehicles to market by 2013. The last remaining mystery about that lineup -- a plug-in hybrid whose name, shape, or size were long unknown -- was solved this morning, when Ford revealed its C-MAX Energi, a five-passenger plug-in that pairs a lithium-ion battery with an Atkinson cycle engine for a total range of 500 miles.
We’ve heard it said that electric cars make driving like using an iPhone app. It’s not true, but Ford’s choice of venue for the reveal of the Ford Focus Electric—the Consumer Electronics Show—probably won’t help change that perception.
An effort to help blind people drive cars has reached an important step -- driver awareness systems are now being integrated into a mass-production vehicle. Blind drivers will test-drive a specially outfitted Ford Escape in January at Daytona International Speedway, team members announced Friday.
In the past three years, the thought of companies like Chevrolet and Nissan selling lithium-ion-powered cars has gone from laughable to old news. Late this year, the plug-in Chevy Volt and pure-electric Nissan Leaf arrive. Carmakers from Ford to Toyota will follow in 2011 and 2012 with new electrified models of their own. In the beginning, the electric-car revolution probably won't seem so revolutionary: a few thousand cars here and there.
We cover all the bases: droolworthy visions, dramatic departures, genre-defining pioneers and true forehead-slappers (a nuclear-powered Ford sedan? Why not!).
By Wes SilerPosted 04.16.2010 at 11:49 am 6 Comments
Concept cars represent much more than flights of fancy from the minds of ambitious auto designers. They're great ways to test public reaction to a new look before committing to production; they build carefully crafted buzz around factors marketers want you to associate with their brands; they can drum up investment and, at a minimum, they'll drive foot traffic to an automaker's stand at autoshows.
Most importantly, concept cars represent a way for automakers to take risks without putting the future of their companies on the line. And from such risk comes both wildly ambitious breakthroughs and spectacular, disastrous flops. Here we've assembled ten of the most important concept cars that run the full gamut of conceptual successes and failures.
Smart systems that help figure out when to charge electric cars at home and avoid overloading utility power generators have gotten a boost from a new deal signed by Ford and Microsoft. A smart system will first be loaded onto the all-electric Ford Focus, slated to roll out in 2011, ABC News reports.
Electric vehicles (EVs) are seen as a key component in America's carbon-free energy diet of the future, and Ford is ready to step into the role of supplier. But before you putter down to the dealership in your gas guzzler with down payment in hand, take note: Ford's first mass-market foray into all-electric vehicles is the Transit Connect EV, a delivery van available later this year -- to large fleet customers only.
The 2010 North American International Auto Show in Detroit was quieter, smaller and shorter than in years' past. But it was not, however, depressing, and considering the smoldering wreckage that is the automotive industry, that's quite an accomplishment.
Airbags have become a crucial part of the safety features in any modern car. Unfortunately, they only protect people in the front seats. To solve this problem, Ford has created a combination seat belt/airbag for passengers in the back of the vehicle.
The inflatable seat belts blow up upon impact of a certain force, quickly expanding and providing added restraint and protection for people riding in the back seat of cars. And since the passenger in the back seat is more likely to be a child or elderly person, that extra protection really goes a long way.
It's driver's license day. Time to borrow the keys and head to the mall -- and, of course, to test out that 130-mph top speed on dad's Ford Taurus SHO. Not so fast, whippersnapper. Ford's MyKey system is in effect. The new top speed is 80. And put on that seatbelt.
For nervous parents, MyKey may be the next best thing to hiring an armed nanny to ride along with their kids. Mom or dad can program junior's own key fob to limit the car's functions, with an eye toward keeping brand-new drivers from getting in over their heads.