In the past few years, Ford hasn't done too many high-style concepts. Most of its design studies have generally been previews of a future production model, with a few recent and distant exceptions. But the Ford Evos Concept stands apart.
Unveiled last evening and previewed here in Berlin, Germany ahead of its public debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the Evos is the next step in the One Ford strategy, creating a new global styling language to go along with its new global architectures. Whereas the outgoing Kinetic design was a stylistic turning point for Ford, debuting in Europe and then slowly making its way to the States in the form of the Fiesta and Focus, the Evos is a clear picture of the future face of a global Ford. And while we won't see a production model based on this 2+2, Ford's head of design, J Mays, says we'll be seeing the first roadgoing example of this new styling not in four years, but in a scant four months.
Related GalleryFord Evos Concept Live
Four months? That's Detroit. And if recent rumblings are to be believed, what you're looking at is an stylized interpretation of the next Fusion. But in reality, the Evos isn't that overly styled. It's the exact opposite – at least according to Mays.
"We wanted to simplify the overall [Kinetic] design," Mays told the assembled media masses. That language, originally shown on the Iosis concept back in 2005 and eventually influencing the entire European Ford line-up, needed to evolve, hence "Evos."
"It's paired down, defined, tailored," Mays asserts, citing the overall sense of "visual premiumness" from the new trapezoidal grille that's both more attractive and aerodynamic to the clean cutlines of the sides and admittedly Aston-like haunches. But more than any other element of the Evos, it's the slim head- and tail lamps that turn the volume down.
"We've allowed headlamps to grow to absurd proportions," says Mays, a thinly-veiled dig at Audi and other automakers that have adopted similar tactics with fascia design. Mays calls the new lighting "laser cut" and it's something we'll see spreading across the entire lineup in the coming years – assuming Ford gets on the LED bandwagon.
Another notable point is the rather capacious greenhouse that stands in subtle contrast to the Evos' low-slung stance. "I'm glad you noticed that," Mays told us, noting that the stretched glass isn't a byproduct of the quartet of gullwing doors, but rather an attempt to provide rear seat passengers with more headroom, something that Mays notes most coupe-like four-doors lack. Is that an indication that the next Fusion will adopt an elongated, arching roof? Most signs point to "yes."
But while the exterior is a clear indication of what's to come stylistically, the interior tech and connectivity concepts previewed in the Evos aren't as far-fetched as you'd imagine.
The next great iteration of SYNC is set to take in-car cloud connectivity to another level of usability and integration, with Ford's Chief Technological Officer, Paul Mascarenas, viewing developed technology not as another list of features, but as a unified experience. The video below offers a great explanation (overt kitsch aside), but here are the high points:
By integrating everything from your work schedule to your daily errands and route preferences with a yet-to-be-announced Ford-developed cloud connectivity system, the next(-next) evolution of SYNC will be a holistic experience from the moment you wake up.
The system will look over your appointment schedule, factor-in traffic and weather conditions, and then modify your alarm time to get you to the office in the most efficient manner possible. Once there, you'll be able to keep tabs on your charge status (assuming you're piloting an EV) and when you leave in the evening, the system may suggest an alternate route that your friends have recommended.
As soon as you pull off the freeway to tackle the twisties, the navigation system recognizes the road and automatically sets the suspension, throttle and steering to Dynamic mode.
That lone red driver's seat in the Evos? It's fitted with a heart rate monitor that keeps tabs on your vitals as you're enjoying the drive. As your pace quickens – both your heart and vehicle speed – the dashboard progressively eliminates any extraneous information so you can focus on the task at hand.
If that sounds too science fiction, it's not. Most of the technologies fitted to the Evos are in development at Ford's research labs, many of the systems will be fitted to the Focus Electric and Ford's first plug-in hybrid, and the electrocardiogram seat is already functional.
But Ford's pursuit of the automotive cloud has other advantages. In addition to creating "a seamless convergence between office, home and vehicle," according to Mascarenas, a system that's less hardware-dependent can be upgraded throughout the lifetime of the vehicle. "The more we can take off-board, the better," Macarenas told us, noting that updates can be performed easily and as the consumer electronics space continues to evolve, connectivity between your car and your smartphone won't be comprised.
Naturally, you're wondering about the Evos' powertrain, but Ford isn't giving up too much. At least, not officially.
As you can gather from the separate charging and fuel filler doors on either side of the Evos, this is a plug-in hybrid equipped with a small, efficient gasoline-powered engine and a brace of lithium-ion batteries. Total range is somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 miles, with the electric-only range coming in around 30 miles. The drivetrain is a modified version of the system fitted to the C-Max Energi concept, utilizes inductive charging and should easily best the 41 mpg Fusion Hybrid.
With our first taste of Ford's new styling initiative coming to Frankfurt, followed by another big reveal in Detroit, we're expecting to see the design and connectivity concepts evolve and mature over the next few years. And with its pioneering efforts in the infotainment space with SYNC and MyFord Touch (to varying levels of refinement), Ford has the largest head start in the industry. Now we get to see if they can deliver.