Taking the heat – All-New Ford Focus breezes hot weather test

The next generation Ford Focus has been tested in some of the most extreme locations on the planet – over frozen lakes, across the hottest deserts and up and down high Alpine passes to ensure impeccable reliability and dependability wherever it is sold.

While many of these tests focus on how such climate extremes affect the performance of the vehicle, the comfort of the driver and passengers in these tough conditions is equally important.

Ford’s climate control test team travels the world to ensure that the car’s EATC (Electronic Automatic Temperature Control) system can handle any conditions. The system needs to be able to cool the occupants down quickly and comfortably in scorching sun and warm them up just as rapidly when the temperature drops.

In the next generation Focus, which goes on sale early next year, the EATC system cools occupants more comfortably and efficiently than ever before. The fans are quieter and are capable of moving cool air through the cabin more quickly. The team’s task is to fine-tune this system.

One of the team’s regular testing locations is Antequera in Southern Spain. In the height of summer this is one of the hottest places in continental Western Europe, with temperatures regularly rising above 40 deg C.

Ford systems engineer Klaus Schuermanns is here for two weeks, driving up to 500km a day, six days a week. “We are doing a subjective and an objective evaluation of the EATC system so that we can finalise its calibration. We take the data from the EATC, compare with how we feel inside the car, as well as with objective data from the cabin, such as the breathing level temperature. We then make adjustments to fine tune the system.”

Today, the team is testing two camouflaged vehicles – a four-door version for the North American market and a five-door European-spec Focus. They are monitoring the findings from more than 200 sensors that are placed around the car. These sensors record a myriad data, including ambient temperature, AC pressures, engine speed, and sunlight. Chrome-nickel thermo couples are attached to the windows, the seats, the radio, and all around the drivers and passengers, monitoring the temperature throughout the cabin.

One of the main challenges for the team is that customers in North America have different preferences to their European counterparts, so the two test vehicles have different calibrations. North American customers generally like to feel a strong cooling effect while the European customer preference is for the cabin to be cooled but not to feel chilled. This is where the team’s experience in subjectively evaluating the system comes in. The sensors can monitor actual data, but the human experience is just as important.

After 250km of motorway driving, the two cars are parked side by side in direct sunlight. “This is the pull down test,” explains Klaus. “The vehicles are soaked in the sun for about an hour, until the temperature in the cabin reaches about 60 deg C. Then we drive 30km or so and see how long it takes to get back down to the chosen comfort point.”

Other tests carried out by the engineers include an altitude test and a control curve, where the temperature settings are changed and the team monitors how it feels as the system adapts. As they drive the engineers can directly make changes to the EATC calibration.

“We get a lot of people trying to take pictures as we drive along,” Klaus added, “and people are always asking us about the car. But the most important thing for us is that this AC system in the all-new Focus is great. That makes our job much easier, not to mention more comfortable.”

Source | Ford UK

Focus RS500 slows down to join Ford history


The first example of Ford’s fastest selling performance car in the UK is set for a slower pace of life after joining the company’s heritage collection.

The Focus RS500 was unveiled as a limited-edition model of 500 retail units plus 12 models produced for demonstration and press purposes. Just 101 right-hand drive Focus RS500 models were available in the UK and they sold out within days of being launched.

The first right-hand drive press unit in the UK, number PR001, has featured widely in motoring magazines and will now join the company’s Essex-based fleet of heritage vehicles at Dagenham. Sitting alongside such icons as the 1970 London to Mexico winning Ford Escort, the Ford RS200 and the 2005 Ford GT supercar, the Ford Focus RS500 will be put on public display at motor shows and Ford dealers.

Ford corporate affairs manager, Brian Bennett, said: “The heritage collection is the largest collection of roadworthy historic Ford vehicles in the UK and includes some of the industry’s most famous vehicles such as the Ford Model T and the Ford Cortina. Performance models feature strongly and the Ford Focus RS500 was an obvious choice to include as a future classic.”

Source | Ford UK

The new 2011 Ford Mondeo: Advanced technologies, high efficiency powertrains and a fresh new look


Ford of Europe is launching the most stylish and technologically advanced Mondeo model ever. With a fresh, restyled exterior, an enhanced interior, plus new high-efficiency Ford EcoBoost petrol and TDCi diesel powertrains and a host of new driver comfort and convenience features and safety technologies, the new Mondeo completes the rejuvenation of Ford’s large car range, and takes its position as the flagship model in the company’s European portfolio.

Following significant updates to the Ford S-MAX and Galaxy models earlier this year, the new Mondeo on sale in September/October is the latest Ford car to benefit from the continuing evolution of Ford kinetic design.

New Mondeo will see the first application of a higher performance 240PS derivative of the efficient new 2.0-litre Ford EcoBoost turbocharged petrol engine, joining the existing 203PS version of this engine, introduced in Mondeo, new S-MAX and new Galaxy earlier in 2010.

The latest Mondeo also introduces a comprehensively revised version of the 2.2-litre Ford Duratorq TDCi diesel engine, which boasts a 12 per cent power increase to 200PS, making it the most powerful Ford Duratorq diesel engine so far.

Mondeo design

The new Mondeo is set to build on the model’s established reputation as a stylish, versatile and great-to-drive vehicle, and for offering high levels of driving enjoyment and comfort to its occupants.

Central to this is the application of a fresh look for both body styles available in the UK – five door and wagon – to distinguish the new model. Ford’s design team set out to emphasise further the kinetic design signatures in each body style while incorporating new technologies such as LED lighting.

Bolder graphics and proportions at the front end, including larger lower trapezoidal and slimmer upper grilles, plus a revised bonnet profile and integral new LED day running lights further emphasise the Mondeo’s premium appeal and sporty stance.

New Mondeo’s sleek lines are emphasised in the side profile by a new, full chrome window surround for the higher series models, while larger, re-designed, LED tail lamps give additional kinetic movement to the rear.

Sophisticated interior

The interior of the new Mondeo has also been comprehensively reworked to give it a higher level of quality and sophistication through meticulous attention to detail, and by employing new, higher quality trim materials.

The re-designed centre console flows more elegantly, while the door panels feature a new ‘toproll’ and flush, integrated, door release mechanisms. Further enhancements include a new central overhead console featuring LED ambient lighting, and a woven headliner.

The use of new high quality interior trim materials in new Mondeo boost the overall feeling of craftsmanship and are complemented by high-class inlay foils and new ‘jewel’ detailing on switches and vents in satin chrome. New interior colour schemes also offer two new lighter interior executions for a rich, premium, appeal.

New powertrains

The new Mondeo offers a wide range of Ford’s latest high-efficiency powertrain technologies, delivering a key combination of fuel efficiency and low emissions, yet still maintaining Ford’s renowned driving enjoyment.

New Mondeo is the first Ford of Europe model to feature a more powerful 240PS version of the 2.0-litre Ford EcoBoost power unit. This joins the existing 203PS engine already available in Mondeo and the new S-MAX and Galaxy.

Lightweight all-aluminum construction is the key to the new 2.0-litre Ford EcoBoost engine, which features latest-generation high-pressure direct injection, low-inertia turbocharging and twin independent variable cam timing. It has an advanced combustion system which contributes significantly to achieving new levels of performance and fuel efficiency for petrol engines in this power range.

Average CO2 emissions of just 179 g/km are achieved for the 2.0-litre Ford EcoBoost engine, regardless of the power rating or body style. Ford EcoBoost technology offers fuel consumption and emission reductions of up to 20 per cent compared with conventional petrol engines of a similar performance.

New Mondeo also introduces a significantly re-engineered version of the 2.2-litre Ford Duratorq TDCi diesel engine, which now boasts a 12 per cent peak power increase to 200PS, making it the most powerful Ford Duratorq diesel to date.

This new powerhouse is joined by the significantly improved 2.0-litre Duratorq TDCi diesel introduced to the Mondeo range earlier this year, and available with 115, 140 or 163PS power ratings, all three of which deliver average CO2 emissions of just 139 g/km with a six-speed manual transmission and regardless of body style. Existing 1.6- and 2.0-litre Ford Duratec petrol engines have also been retained, offering 120 and 145PS outputs.

New 1.6-litre engines from the Ford EcoBoost petrol and Duratorq TDCi diesel engine families will be available in the future to extend the wide powertrain choice even further.

New Ford ECOnetic Technologies are also available on new Mondeo to help ensure efficient and economical motoring. Innovations include Smart Regenerative Charging, the Ford Eco Mode driver information system and, for the first time in a Ford model, an Active Grille Shutter system. This electronically controlled device regulates the airflow through the radiator and engine compartment, reducing aerodynamic drag and benefitting engine heating characteristics to improve fuel economy and warm-up performance, particularly in cold climates.

Powertrain advances seen in the new Mondeo also extend to the transmission, with the latest Ford PowerShift double wet-clutch transmission system fitted as standard equipment with Ford EcoBoost petrol engines and available as an option with 140PS and 163PS versions of the 2.0-litre Duratorq TDCi.

New technologies for enhanced safety and comfort

Mondeo’s wide range of the latest driver assistance technologies includes Lane Departure Warning, Driver Alert and Auto High Beam – all utilising a new high sensitivity camera unit located at the top of the windscreen in front of the rear view mirror.

Also extending to Mondeo are many features already introduced on the latest S-MAX and Galaxy models, including Ford’s Blind Spot Information System, Speed Limiter, Rear Door Power Child Locks and Rear View Camera. LED lighting technology is used for the daytime running lights and rear tail and brake lamps as well as inside the car.

UK prices will be carried over from the existing Mondeo pricelist starting at £17,295. The high-level Titanium series will increase by £200 to £19,945 to reflect new features.

Source | Ford UK

New Transit Tipper makes work easier


The new Ford One Stop Shop Transit Tipper is the latest version of the UK’s best-selling tipper. It has been the benchmark for the industry since its launch 12 years ago, evolving through user feedback and legislative requirements and setting new standards in design and safety while backed up by a comprehensive after-sales service.

Fleet operators have told Ford that productivity, safety, and cost of ownership are the areas constantly reviewed for efficiency improvements. Every aspect of this new Transit Tipper has been geared to improve these operational needs.

Mark Simpson, marketing director, Ford of Britain, said: “The success of the Ford One Stop Shop programme can be attributed to our customers. We listened to their operational concerns and needs and created a programme to cater for thousands of different types of businesses. Transit’s dependability and robustness enable us to create commercial vehicles that provide effective business solutions.”

There are 35 changes to the Tipper providing benefits in productivity, improved safety and cost of ownership:

Productivity : Improved payload, lower loading height, intuitive tipper control gear.
Safety
: Body lock down, TÜV approval.
Cost of Ownership
: Reduced regular maintenance requirements, repositioned end outline marker lamps incorporating LED lamps, simplified systems and reduced parts count.

Recognising that Fleet and Rental operators are under increasing pressure from their duty of care responsibilities, the Transit Tipper still remains the only Tipper in the industry to be approved by the TÜV Rheinland Group; a global leader in independent testing and assessment services. This gives Fleet managers the confidence that their purchase decision has been independently verified for safety and production conformity.

PRODUCTIVITY-RELATED UPDATES

Improved payload
The body weight for the single and double cab models has been reduced by 51Kg & 40Kg respectively, increasing the payload pro‐-ata. The weight saving has been achieved by reviewing every aspect of the bodywork, re-designing for weight efficiency without impacting upon performance, strength and durability. Careful selection of individual components that make up the hydraulic system enabled a more complex system to weigh less than the previous system. Other operator benefits such as maintenance free bearings have also shown a weight saving. However, critical material gauges such as the load bed at 2.5mm, have remained in order to retain durability. Therefore the overall feature content of the bodywork has increased, while the weight has been reduced.

Lowered deck height
The loading height has been reduced by a useful 40mm by lowering the subframe by 30mm and the deck under-structure by 10mm. The loading height is now sub-one metre (995mm) at the rear axle to assist manual handling of loads. The deck retains its 2.5mm steel floor and its high strength roll formed edge to the rear.

Control gear
The control gear has been redesigned to provide a simplified, more intuitive joystick operation. The tipper controls are now all in one position to the offside and adjacent to the driver’s seat. This gives full access to the controls either when seated or from outside with the door open.

SAFETY-RELATED CHANGES

Sequential hydraulic body lock-down
For additional safety and stability a sequenced hydraulic cam holds the body in the stowed position. The device helps stabilise the body under adverse loading conditions such as an improperly loaded payload or when subjected to load inputs by mechanical handling equipment. Controlled by the hydraulic line pressures, the device is fully automatic and requires no control or intervention by the operator.

TÜV approval
The Tipper is TÜV approved to demonstrate independent verification of the certification (Conformité Europeene) by the TÜV. All Tipper manufacturers are required to display the CE logo, but as it can be by self-certification, there is no way for the customer to obtain independent evidence that it does conform. TÜV approval confirms compliance to the customer by a highly respected independent testing organisation.

COST OF OWNERSHIP-RELATED CHANGES

Lower maintenance & parts count
Maintenance-free, self-lubricating Delrin bearings have eliminated the need to grease a number of key periodic maintenance items.

Repositioned LED end outline marker lamps
The previous tungsten filament end outline marker lamps mounted on brackets extending from the rear light bar have been replaced with LED lamps mounted on the rear crossmember of the load bed protected by the roll-form edge of the rear load floor edge.

Options
As with previous Tipper models, there is a full range of purpose designed options including everything from reversing sensors to handwash units.

Source | Ford UK

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