DEARBORN — Motorists can virtually test drive the all-new Ford Fusion through a mobile app leading up to its formal introduction at the 2012 North American International Auto Show next month in Detroit.
Ford Motor Co. also announced the start of production on an all-electric version of the Ford Focus.
The new Fusion will also be the Official Car of the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next month and will be introduced at the show by Ford CEO Alan Mulally and Consumer Electronics Association CEO Gary Shapiro.
“We want to have an exciting and interactive way to build anticipation leading up to the reveal of the all-new Fusion,” said Samantha Hoyt, Fusion marketing manager. “The app allows consumers to learn about the advanced technology and design of the car in a fun and easy-to-use way while reinforcing the transformative nature of the Fusion.”
The app operates on the Android and iOS operating systems, on smartphones and tablets such as the iPhone, iPad and Droid. The experience is initiated by finding and capturing a Ford logo using the mobile device’s camera. The Ford logo will appear on the screen as a button that starts the program. Operating like a video game, the app then allows consumers to drive a digitally camouflaged new Fusion on a track toward video clips that feature insights on technology and design from key Fusion team members.
A daily video clip will unlock a new enhancement to the app, with every day of driving bringing new content alive. New content includes demonstrations of key vehicle features.
As the game progresses, three driving worlds can be unlocked leading up to the reveal, each offering a clearer form of the Fusion and new visual environments. All the while, original music tracks will make the experience even more enjoyable and users can access social sharing to post images to Facebook or Twitter.
On the day of the Fusion reveal at the 2012 North American International Auto Show, users will be able to unlock access to the full image of the car. After viewing the final video in the driving experience, an image of the car will appear on the main menu. At that point users can drive any of the four Fusions on the track and can create a custom image of the car to share via Facebook and Twitter.
Ford collaborated with Shreveport, La.-based Moonbot Studios on development of the app.
As “Official Car of CES,” the 2013 Fusion will be introduced at the show by Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally and Consumer Electronics Association CEO Gary Shapiro on Tuesday, Jan. 10.
In addition to the new Fusion, Ford’s cloud-connected EVOS Concept will make its North American debut at CES and Mulally will participate in the 2012 Innovation Power Panel keynote at the Las Vegas Hilton on Wednesday, Jan. 11 at 9 a.m.
Ford also announced Tuesday that the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne is beginning production of the 2012 Focus Electric,expected to be the first five-passenger, all-electric car to achieve more than a 100 miles per gallon equivalent fuel efficiency rating.
Focus Electric is designed to offer enough range to cover the majority of daily driving habits of Americans. Its expected 100 MPGe is better than Chevrolet Volt and all electric vehicles with seating for five.
It will be the first electrified vehicle to offer faster charging with 240-volt outlets, which can be installed in customer homes. The battery can be recharged in just more than three hours using a 240-volt charging station, about half the charging time of the 2012 Nissan Leaf.
Faster charging with 240 volts also can extend range as drivers can more quickly recharge between stops – up to 30 miles per charge hour – so they can more than double the vehicle’s range with multiple charging stops during a busy day of driving.
A unique value charging feature, powered by Microsoft, will help owners in the U.S. charge their vehicles at the cheapest utility rates, lowering the cost of ownership.
Focus Electric introduces new features and technologies – including a unique version of the MyFord Touch driver connect system especially for electric vehicles and a smartphone app called MyFord Mobile that helps plug-in owners control their vehicles remotely.
The vehicle has a top speed of 84 mph. Ford says the absence of an internal combustion engine and outstanding aerodynamics lead to a remarkably quiet, comfortable in-car experience.
A limited number of Focus Electrics will first be available in California and the New York/New Jersey areas. Availability of the Focus Electric will expand in 2012 to the remaining 15 launch markets as production ramps up.
The 19 launch markets also include Atlanta; Austin and Houston, Texas; Boston; Chicago; Denver; Detroit; Los Angeles; San Francisco; San Diego; New York; Orlando, Fla.; Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz.; Portland, Ore.; Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; Richmond, Va.; Seattle; and Washington, D.C.
The Wayne plant will also begin production of the Ford C-Max Hybrid and C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid, Ford’s first compact multi-activity vehicles (MAVs) in North America and offer high mileage and low emissions as well as a distinctive design and flexible interior.
The C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi use the company’s next-generation powersplit hybrid technology in combination with a lighter, smaller lithium-ion battery system. Both models provide maximum fuel efficiency by pairing the high-voltage lithium-ion battery and electric traction motor with a high-efficiency Atkinson-cycle gasoline engine. This technology enables the gasoline engine to run less than the previous generation.
C-MAX Hybrid is targeted to deliver better fuel economy than the Toyota Prius v. C-MAX Energi is expected to deliver better MPGe than the Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid and to achieve more than 500 miles of driving range using the battery and engine.
Ford says it has completely transformed Michigan Assembly Plant into an environmentally friendly workplace with flexible manufacturing capability.
With the new electrified vehicles and the new Focus ST performance model also coming in 2012, Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant is the first facility in the world capable of building a full array of vehicles — gas-powered, EcoBoost, electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid — all on the same production line.
The plant also features one of the largest solar power generation systems in the state as well as several electric vehicle charging stations, allowing the facility to operate on a blend of renewable and conventional electricity.
Renewable energy collected by the solar panels directly feeds the energy-efficient microgrid, helping power the plant. When the plant is inactive, such as holidays, the stored solar energy will provide power during periods of insufficient or inconsistent sunlight. Projected energy cost savings are approximately $160,000 per year.
The plant also has 10 electric vehicle charging stations that recharge the electric switcher trucks that transport parts between adjacent facilities – saving an estimated 86,000 gallons of gas a year.
Plus, 50 percent of the parts arriving for the all-new Focus are packed in cardboard, are carefully collected, sorted and recycled, as is the bubble wrap, the Styrofoam and the water bottles used by employees.