Ford Motor Co.'s Synergy 2010 concept car explores futuristic alternatives that could offer triple the fuel efficiency of a typical family sedan.
Ford Chairman and CEO Alex Trotman shows off the vehicle at the company's year-end news conference. It will be on display at the Detroit auto show in January. "This is very much a stretch exercise, especially when it comes to making this advanced technology affordable," Mr. Trotman says, emphasizing that the car is not buildable at this time.
The hybrid electric vehicle includes two power sources. A small, 1L direct-injection, compression-ignited rear-mounted engine would power a generator that produces electricity for motors located in each wheel. Up front, a flywheel would collect excess engine and braking energy, which would be released to augment the engine when the car was accelerating quickly or climbing hills. Theoretically, the vehicle's performance with the smaller engine would be the same as today's midsize family car due to decreased weight, improved aerodynamics and lower rolling resistance.
The car weighs in at 2,200 lbs. (1,000kg) -- about a third lighter and 40% more aerodynamic than today's sleekest Ford, the Taurus. An all-aluminum unibody construction is the primary contributor to weight savings -- about 400 lbs. (180 kg)
Fin-shaped vertical front fenders create an air extractor for the cooling system, house rear-view cameras that replace mirrors and function as air-management devices. Fenders surround a front bumper that doubles as a spoiler to help cut drag and improve fuel economy. The vehicle's drag coefficient is a slippery 0.20.
To maximize spaciousness in the six-seat sedan, virtually all electronic controls are voice-activated, which results in an instrument panel totally devoid of switches, levers or buttons. All vehicle functions are monitored on a head-up display.