April 9, 2009 As part of the lead up to the release of the Transit Connect utility vehicle this year Ford has unveiled the Family One Concept. Packed with added extras that will appeal to the whole clan, the Concept showcases the versatility of the platform and explores what's possible in designing a car specifically for one purpose. Innovations include digital entertainment screens, in-dash technology that is programmed with all the family's requirements and even sunscreen and hand sanitizer dispensers. Kids are sure to love the door-mounted scooters and the walkie-talkie radios while Moms are catered for by the inclusion of a stroller stored under the floor, in-built rear awning and an integrated first aid kit.
A transparent sunshade is mounted on the bulkhead behind the driver’s area. This sunshade transforms into an entertainment center by becoming a pair of projected, floating high-resolution screens which can display digital media entertainment, three-dimensional gaming and web surfing.
“Transit Connect is a versatile vehicle that can be adapted to a wide variety of applications,” said Mark Fields, Ford’s president of The Americas. “The Family One concept delivers fun with function. This fun, cool space is for parents and small children alike, combining fuel efficiency with advanced technologies that can help keep families connected on the go.”
Other features include a built-in hand sanitizer and sunscreen dispensers, family walkie-talkie radios, an integrated first-aid kit and cargo door-mounted folding twin scooters. A folding stroller is contained beneath the rear floor and when you need some shade, an integrated awning extends from the open rear cargo doors.
The in-dash computer technology is designed to help keep a family organized. Radio frequency identification (RFID) technology is used to ensure that you never forget important items by using predictive algorithms to “learn” based on past usage, meaning it can it prompt the driver to collect missing instruments or sporting equipment. RFID tags can be attached to any number of items such as backpacks, homework folders or sports equipment. The system is easy to operate, minimal menu scrolling is required and the system integrates with sensors so the driver is warned if a child’s seat is not correctly attached.
The Family One concept is powered by a 2.0-liter engine delivering 22 city and 25 highway miles per gallon – and features SmartGauge to help parents drive more efficiently via an easily understood graphic interface. In future, the global Transit Connect platform will be able to host other efficient engine alternatives, including battery electric propulsion.
In October 2008, the Ford Transit Connect Family One concept team arranged a display of five family vehicles from Ford's global product portfolio outside the Hands-On Museum in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Guest respondents, representing 200 participating families, were questioned regarding their likes and dislikes and asked to describe the type of driver who would drive each car. The research team found (not all that surprisingly) that families like to have lots of functional extras and would prefer the car to be fuel-efficient.
Transit Connect goes on sale in the U.S. this summer, starting at USD$21,475.
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