Ford has created a new in-house global design language in both style and technology that signals a significant transformation of the brand. Its first manifestation is in the Evos “bespoke concept” unveiled at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show.
The vehicle might not be totally indicative of a specific forthcoming product though. “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,” explained Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s Group Vice president, Global Product Development.
Precisely to which models they will apply Ford was not saying, but the front and rear gullwing doors of the Evos do not look likely for the next-generation Fiesta. However, many aspects of the Evos styling and technology will make it to the company's cars, MAVs, and CUVs that will be spawned by Ford’s eight design studios with their 1150 staff across the world as part of the One Ford strategy planned to usher in major changes to the brand.
"Premiumness," smart technologies, and fuel economy leadership are the stated aims for new designs that will go hand-in-hand with vehicles that have substantive driver appeal, exceptional connectivity capability, and style. The fastback Evos has echoes of late 1960s Mustang and Capri without in any way looking retro.
“This new design DNA provides a clear direction for a whole new generation of models,” said J Mays, Group Vice President, Design and Chief Creative Officer. It is a strong statement of intent, he said, and is an evolution of Ford’s current kinetic design signature demonstrated in the highly successful Fiesta and Focus.
Martin Smith, Ford’s Executive Design Director for Europe and Asia Pacific, who has had considerable influence on the company’s design direction, added: “With our new global DNA, we have retained the same dynamic character but with a more technical execution and a distinctively premium feel.”
Moray Callum, Executive Design Director North America, stressed: “A common DNA doesn’t mean identical-looking products. The design language is flexible enough for different sizes and types of vehicles.”
So the blue oval will be nosing its way up market supported by the Evos’ appearance. Use is made of “bold technical shapes” stated Ford, including “laser-cut” front headlamps and with front and rear windshields connected by a thin glazed section of roof.
Ford’s new exterior and interior design vocabulary was a result of “an unprecedented collaboration” among design teams from around the world. Next year will see the first production example of all this. But until then it is the Evos that carries the flag of Ford’s forward philosophy.
Paul Mascarenas, Chief Technical Office and Vice president, Ford Research and Innovation, led the team that built the Evos: “We see technology as more that just an impressive list of microprocessors, sensors, and software; it’s about the application of that technology to create an experience that enhances the driver’s time behind the wheel.”
That includes the use of a driver’s “personal cloud” of information, said Mascarenas: “The possibilities are fascinating when we explore how to enable a seamless lifestyle between home, office, and car linked by access to the driver’s personal information.”
The car “knows” the driver, automatically using adaptive vehicle technologies such as chassis and powertrain controls to meet personal preferences with regard to ambient conditions. This even embraces advanced air-quality sensors and filtration systems, assessing air quality via the cloud.
The Evos is powered by a lithium-ion, plug-in hybrid powertrain to provide the same level of performance and fuel economy as the Ford C-Max Energi that will be introduced first in the U.S. next year and then Europe. The car runs in pure electric mode until battery charging is necessary, when the 2.0-L gasoline engine starts.
Access to historical driver behavior and typical journeys permits travel patterns to be refined to calculate energy-saving routes by predicting a destination and achieving the most intelligent use of gasoline or battery power. Using both internal combustion engine and electric motor gives a range of about 800 km (497 mi).
The Evos concept is 4.5 m (14.8 ft) long, 1.97 m (6.5 ft) wide, and 1.36 m (4.5 ft) tall, with a wheelbase of 2.74 m (9.0 ft). The figures indicate a certain merging of typical C-car and C/D-car sizes. So there may even be new Ford phrases for generic designations. A case, perhaps, of Ford crossing class barriers.