Ford has taken the wraps off the sleek new Evos concept, set to debut in mid-September at the Frankfurt Motor Show. It’s impressive enough to see such a sleek plug-in hybrid with gullwing doors, but what’s most ambitious is the cloud-connected technology that lies beneath.
By connecting with drivers’ calendars and other online services, and also learning to recognize patterns, the Evos foreshadows a world where automotive driving dynamics and infotainment systems aren’t tailored to the average buyer, but to each individual’s needs and wants.
“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,” said Ford Chief Technical Officer Paul Mascarenas. “We’re researching how we can use patterns or preferences set by the driver to make life simpler. The car gets to know you and can act as a personal assistant to handle some of the usual routines of a daily commute.”
That doesn’t mean your dashboard will turn into your desk, however. Instead, the Evos will pick up streaming of the same morning news radio program you were listening to in the kitchen while making breakfast, close the garage door and adapt steering and driving controls based on the patterns of a daily commute. In the evening, the Evos would take a look at your calendar to predict your departure time, then turn on the climate control so the cabin is a comfortable 73 degrees the moment you open the door.
Likewise, the Evos’ plug-in hybrid drivetrain — which promises a total range of 500 miles from a gasoline motor and lithium-ion batteries — would recognize driver behavior and calculate traffic patterns to a preset destination, adjusting engine dynamics to maximize fuel economy. On a deserted straightaway late at night? We’re pretty sure it could turn on the high-beams, quicken upshifts and put “Radar Love” on the stereo.
Those who have been stymied by Sync will be glad to learn that as far as interface is concerned, Ford global product development VP Derrick Kuzak promised the intent was not “to convert the vehicle into a smartphone,” but to build a seamless connection to the outside world, tailored for application in a vehicle.
The car will never make it to production as is, but Kuzak said that its style and technology definitely anticipates future products.
“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.” So, just as the Aston Marton-esque snout could anticipate future Focuses, Fiestas and Mondeos, the car’s cloud connectivity may be a preview of future generations of Sync and MyFord Touch.