From Start to finish


Do the words sexy, modern, sleek and green ever come to mind when you think of Ford Motor Company? From start to finish, Ford’s Start Concept car proves that you can teach an old dog new tricks. On April 22nd, Ford introduced the Start at the Beijing Motor Show in response to the world’s increasing urban market and growing eco-minded consumer.

From the very beginning, Ford’s central focus for this concept was design:

“Our ambition with the Ford Start Concept was to design a car that transcends the practical realities of commuting in these mega cities and goes beyond just dressing the technology,” explained Freeman Thomas, design director.

The Ford Start addresses key questions facing car manufacturers today: green technology, more efficient use of available space, recycling and asking if bigger is necessarily better. And while the company hasn’t made any formal plans to release the car into production yet, the design study was developed to look at ways of building smaller, more affordable cars using fewer raw materials. Follow me for your virtual test drive:

Design:

In an era of constant visual noise, we have created a car that conveys visual purity and harmony, in which every line has meaning and purpose,” said J Mays, group vice president, Design and chief creative officer.

The exterior of the Ford Start was designed with aerodynamic features–providing a minimal amount of drag while achieving maximum fuel efficiency. The innovative hybrid aluminium, high-strength steel body is made from pre-coloured recyclable composites. The roof appears to be separated by glass from the overall body and provides full panoramic visibility for the driver: a full 180-degree view.

Interior:

The interior of the Start employs a minimalist approach, with a simplistic twin cockpit, “tub” design and ergonomic seating for up to four occupants. The instrument panel easily converts to both left and right-hand drivers, and is constructed with a single modular piece that starts at the base of the windshield and flows through the bottom of the centre console.

Engine:

The Start is equipped with a powerful new Ford EcoBoost 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine to maximise fuel efficiency and meet lower emission standards. With CO2 emissions of less that 100 g/km, Ford’s latest concept car includes break-through technology that will come into production in the near future.

Dashboard & Connectivity:

Car-related functions can be viewed and adjusted while driving through either voice activation or controls located on the console. A wide, six-inch screen provides visuals. Located at the top of the console is a port to connect to the MyFord Mobile concept technology, which provides a seamless driver interface between the car and the driver’s connectivity with portable hand-held devices (ie: iPhones!). The driver can insert his/her smart phone to use with the car’s dashboard. MyFord Mobile Concept restricts certain functions, such as texting, while driving.

A car like this is smart from the start, and would be great for city driving.  Its compact enough for tight maneuvering yet big enough for transporting friends, family and/or groceries around town.  Its sleek and sexy lines would be appealing to a younger audience and in particular, a female audience.  The Start’s crafty use of recycled materials and superb gas-mileage also makes it a great car for the eco-minded and cost-conscious consumer. Although just a study in design and green technology, I sure hope Ford takes this opportunity to turn its lumbering giant image around, and start in a new direction!

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