The all-new Ford Mondeo delivers the global debut of a new pedestrian detection technology that could help reduce the severity of accidents or help drivers avoid them altogether.
Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection feature is delivered alongside the model's widest ever range of powertrains including the first Mondeo petrol-electric hybrid. A new 210 PS TDCi diesel engine with twin sequential turbocharging will be available early next year.
Available in four-door and five-door bodystyles, and as a wagon - developed specifically for Europe - the all new Mondeo offers greater refinement and craftsmanship, technologies including Ford's adaptive LED headlamps, Inflatable Rear Seatbelts and Multi-Contour Seats; and sophisticated design.
"The new Mondeo is the most technologically advanced Ford vehicle ever introduced in Europe," said Ulrich Koesters, vehicle line director, Ford of Europe. "Features like Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection add safety and security for drivers in busy urban conditions."
Ford's new Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection can detect people in or near the road ahead, or who may cross the vehicle's path, if the system detects a potential collision it automatically applies the brakes if the driver does not respond to warnings. The system processes information collected from a windshield-mounted camera, and radar located in the bumper, and checks it against a database of "pedestrian shapes" to help distinguish people from typical roadside scenery and objects.
If a pedestrian is detected in front of the car, and a collision becomes imminent, the driver will first receive an audible and visual warning. Should the driver not respond, the system then shortens the time required to apply the brakes by reducing the gap between brake pads and discs. If there is still no response from the driver the brakes are applied automatically and the vehicle speed is reduced.
Engineers tested the system on closed circuits using rigs fitted with life-size dummies. They also spent months testing and refining the system on roads around the world to prove system reliability under real world conditions.
"The real world testing was an important part of the development. Pedestrians come in all shapes and sizes, and adopt an infinite number of postures," said Gregor Allexi, active safety engineer, Ford of Europe. "We covered more than 500,000 kilometres that included an extremely wide range of people and potential situations."
The all-new Mondeo also will apply automatic braking to mitigate or avoid a collision with a vehicle ahead. Active City Stop operates at speeds of up to 40 km/h (25 mph). At higher speeds new Pre-Collision Assist uses radar and camera technology which allows it to scan ahead and automatically apply up to full braking force to help the driver mitigate or avoid many types of rear-end collision.
Radar technology further enables the new Distance Indication feature and Adaptive Cruise Control technology. Distance Indication provides an intuitive visual interface to inform the driver of the time gap to the vehicle ahead. Adaptive Cruise Control automatically maintains a chosen distance from the vehicle ahead.
In addition, the forward-facing camera supports Lane Keeping Aid, which applies steering torque to guide the all-new Mondeo back in to lane if unintended drifting towards the lane marking is detected; and Traffic Sign Recognition, which provides the driver with the latest detected speed limit, cancellation signs and overtaking restrictions via the instrument cluster display.
Widest engine range ever
All-new Mondeo petrol engine options will include the 1.5-litre EcoBoost and 2.0-litre EcoBoost alongside Ford's fuel-efficient and surprisingly powerful 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine, which was recently named International Engine of the Year for an unprecedented third time in a row.
The all-new Mondeo also will offer an optional high-powered 2.0-litre TDCi diesel engine featuring twin sequential-turbocharging and delivering 210 PS and 450 Nm of torque. An ECOnetic Technology model will be available, powered by a 1.6-litre diesel engine with class-leading diesel CO2 emissions of 94 g/km and 2.0-litre TDCi diesel models with 150 PS or 180 PS.
The four-door Mondeo Hybrid combines a specially-developed 2.0-litre petrol engine with an electric motor and 1.4 kWh lithium-ion battery to provide optimised fuel economy and CO2 emissions of 99 g/km.
Fuel-efficiency and emissions are improved across the Mondeo powertrain range by up to 14 per cent, supported by features including drag-reducing Active Grille Shutter.
The first model for Europe to be built on Ford's new global CD-segment platform, the all-new Mondeo will debut Ford's new integral link rear suspension configuration for improved refinement and more dynamic performance.
The all-new platform and body structure is enhanced with Electric Power Assisted Steering for the first time on Mondeo, and an optimised anti-lock braking system also helps reduce stopping distances by more than 1 metre from 100 km/h (62 mph).
"With a body structure that's 10 per cent stiffer than the previous generation Mondeo and handling-enhancing technology that includes Torque Vectoring Control, this is the most responsive and versatile Mondeo yet," Koesters said.
Stronger body with advanced materials
The all-new Ford Mondeo uses sophisticated materials and production techniques to deliver greater strength and improved safety with reduced weight and enhanced sustainability.
An industry-first application of hydro-formed high strength steel is used to produce the A-pillars, B-pillars, and roof rails. A new magnesium inner tailgate structure for the four- and five-door models delivers a weight-saving of approximately 40 per cent compared to a traditional steel equivalent.
Also helping deliver body structure weight savings of up to 115 kg for the 1.5-litre EcoBoost model is a recycled Front Energy Absorber, Ford's first design to meet pedestrian protection requirements in both the U.S. and Europe. The 1.5-litre EcoBoost Mondeo weighs 25 kg less than the previous generation 1.6-litre EcoBoost model, with 80 per cent of weight savings re-invested in technology to support enhanced fuel efficiency, lower CO2 emissions, improved safety and better comfort.
"The weight saved during development has been carefully re-invested into fuel-saving features such as aero-shields and Auto-Start-Stop technology; comfort and convenience features; and a stronger and safer body structure," Koesters said. "We've improved the strength of safety relevant areas by 40 per cent, and verified the performance with thousands of computer simulations and more than 180 real-world crash tests."
The Mondeo body structure features 61 per cent high strength steel. Bake-hardened steel is used in the roof structure to reduce weight by a further 0.5 kg.
Further structural developments include:
An anti-roll bar uniquely designed to limit transmission travel in a frontal impact, minimising steering rack movement
All-new Mondeo introduces Ford's adaptive LED headlamp technology to Europe; combining full-LED headlamps with Ford's Adaptive Front Lighting System to enhance the driver's view of surroundings.
An advanced version of Active Park Assist featuring Perpendicular Parking enables drivers to detect suitably-sized parallel parking spaces and reverse hands-free into spaces and is supported by Park-Out Assist, which helps drivers to exit parallel parking spaces. Side Parking Aid also warns drivers of obstacles to the sides of the vehicles, as well as to the front and rear.
Ford's industry-first Inflatable Rear Seatbelt technology will make its European debut on the all-new Mondeo. In the event of an accident, the belt rapidly expands to disperse crash forces across a body area five times greater than that achieved by a conventional seatbelt.
Mondeo also will enhance comfort and convenience for drivers with features including first-in-class power-adjustable, memory-equipped steering column, Ford Multi-Contour Seats with unique Active Motion massage function, and Ford's SYNC 2 connectivity system.
Segment-first enhanced MyKey technology will enable Mondeo owners to programme a key - usually for younger drivers. MyKey now can inhibit incoming phone calls as well as restricting the top speed; preventing deactivation of driver assistance and safety features; reducing the maximum volume of the audio system, and disabling the system altogether if driver and passengers are not using safety belts.
Lighting the way with advanced technology
All-new Mondeo's adaptive LED headlamps combine the daylight-mimicking light clarity of full-LED headlamps with Ford's Adaptive Front Lighting System, which adjusts the headlight beam angle and intensity to match driving environment. The system can choose one of seven settings according to vehicle speed, ambient light conditions, steering angle, distance to the vehicle in front and windscreen wiper activation.
The all-new Mondeo will feature an advanced version of Active Park Assist featuring Perpendicular Parking, which enables drivers to detect suitably-sized parallel parking spaces and reverse hands-free into spaces parallel to the road and side-to-side with other cars.
This advanced parking feature will be supported by both Park-Out Assist, which helps drivers to exit parallel parking spaces; and Side Parking Aid, which delivers an on-screen visual representation and audible warning of obstacles to the sides of the vehicles, as well as to the front and rear.
Control climate and more with voice commands
The SYNC 2 system offered by Mondeo enables drivers to control key in-car systems using simple, natural voice commands and a high-resolution 8-inch colour touch screen. Connectivity is delivered via Bluetooth, USB and SD card ports.
Simply pushing the voice control button and saying "I'm hungry" will bring up a list of local restaurants, and the MICHELIN guide can help drivers choose where to eat. SYNC 2 will then connect users by phone to the restaurant to book a table and guide them there.
Entering a navigation address is also simplified. Rather than reciting the address in stages, users can say the full address at once, and can select music from a connected MP3 device by asking SYNC 2 to play an artist or track. Cover art is also displayed on screen with compatible players.
Customers can place hands-free phone calls with the command "Call
SYNC 2 also features Ford's Emergency Assistance, which directly connects the vehicle occupants to local emergency services operators after an accident, in the correct language for the region.
"We have developed SYNC 2 so it is simple and intuitive for drivers to use, and it seamlessly switches between touch screen and voice commands," said Christof Kellerwessel, chief engineer, Electronic and Electrical Systems Engineering, Ford of Europe. "Drivers will be able to control more in-car systems than ever before, while keeping their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel."
Mondeo drivers can also control interior climate using voice commands including "Max AC" to cool down quickly, or more specific commands such as "Temperature 20 degrees".
The all-new Mondeo's heating, ventilation and air conditioning system has been fine-tuned for quieter operation. The system also helps optimise interior comfort with automatic climate control able to maintain less than one degree variation even in extreme climates, and adaptive fans that maintain a constant airflow as vehicle speed changes. Rear cabin occupants benefit from dedicated air-vents.
In addition, all-new Mondeo features an air-quality sensor that automatically switches on air recirculation when pollution is detected, and a humidity sensor that enables pre-emptive measures against flash-fogging of window interiors. Cooling from 55 degrees C to 18 degrees C in 15 minutes is best-in-class.
New chassis for improved refinement
The first model for Europe to be built on Ford's new global CD-segment platform, the all-new Mondeo will debut Ford's new integral link rear suspension configuration for improved refinement alongside more dynamic performance.
The new suspension design delivers the compliance required for greater comfort, while retaining lateral stiffness for enhanced steering and handling. It also allows the wheel to move rearwards on impact with bumps. This delivers improved impact absorption for a smoother ride and reduced noise levels. Self-levelling rear suspension is offered for the wagon model, maintaining optimal ride height for comfort and handling regardless of load.
Integral link rear suspension contributes to road noise reductions of around 3 decibels in the rear and 2 decibels in the front, supported by additional sound deadening material within the underbody shields, wheel arch liners and front and rear doors to block tyre noise. The number of holes within the all-new Mondeo body shell also has been reduced to minimise noise transfer.
Wind noise is reduced to levels previously only experienced in the premium segment through optimised window pillar and door mirror shape, enhanced door and window seals, and improved interior noise absorption. A wind noise level of 21.1 sone - a metric for loudness - is an 8 per cent improvement over the previous generation Mondeo. The thickness of the rear window glass is increased by 0.4 millimetres, helping reduce passing traffic noise for rear seat passengers.
More seals have been added between the bonnet and front wings, and the engine bay sound insulation changed from fibreglass to foam, contributing to a reduction of between 1.5 and 2 decibels for powertrain noise transmitted to the cabin.
Further fine tuning of handling and ride comfort is delivered with active systems including Torque Vectoring Control, Pull-Drift Compensation, Active Nibble Compensation, and Torque Steer Compensation.
The introduction of Electric Power Assisted Steering to Mondeo for the first time also enables steering weight to adapt and match the "comfort," "normal" and "sport" chassis settings of Ford's Continuous Control Damping. Drivers will notice a greater difference between the chassis characteristics delivered by the three settings.
"We've tuned the all-new Mondeo specifically to meet the needs of European drivers," said Geert van Noyen, vehicle dynamics manager, Ford of Europe. "We went through five designs just for the rear suspensions bushes - with each taking two months - before we were satisfied, and also placed a lot of emphasis on tuning steering to deliver a smooth and fluid feel."
Quality and convenience
Inside, Mondeo drivers are greeted by an optional 10-inch digital-analogue instrument cluster. The customisable colour display delivers animated notifications for features such as Lane Keeping Alert.
A sleek, wrap-around centre console design delivers a sporty, cockpit-like feel, and the centre console features a symmetrical design that is accessible to both the driver and the front seat passenger - as is the large, open flow-through storage bin in front of the gear selector.
A soft-touch instrument panel and flock-lined central front storage area and glovebox are representative of the high material quality and craftsmanship throughout. Chrome surrounds and accents also are delivered for the air-vents and soft touch controls.
Smart-design front seats feature a thinner seat back - enabling rear seat passengers to enjoy additional legroom without sacrificing comfort for driver and front passenger. Rear cabin occupants benefit from the light airy feel offered by an optional full-length panoramic glass roof in the Mondeo wagon.
Mondeo also will enhance comfort and convenience for drivers with features including first-in-class power-adjustable, memory-equipped steering column, as well as power tailgate and heated steering wheel.
"The all-new Mondeo offers a sophisticated suite of features and technology that enhance driving, comfort and convenience like no other car in its class," said Joe Bakaj, vice president, Product Development, Ford of Europe.
All-New Ford Mondeo Delivers Widest Ever Range of Powertrains, Introduces Mondeo Hybrid Electric Vehicle
The all-new Ford Mondeo delivers the widest and most technologically advanced powertrain range in the model's 21-year history, offering customers an unprecedented choice of refined, low CO2 and high performance engine options.
Innovations include the first Mondeo petrol-electric hybrid, Ford's multi-award-winning 1.0-litre EcoBoost - the first 1.0-litre petrol engine in the Mondeo segment, and enhanced 2.0-litre TDCi diesel engines that offer reduced CO2 and NOX emissions.
The all-new Mondeo offers Ford's new 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol engine; a 1.6-litre TDCi diesel with class-leading CO2 emissions and sub-100 g/km CO2 even in wagon bodystyle, and also will offer an optional high-powered 2.0-litre TDCi diesel engine featuring twin sequential-turbocharging and delivering 210 PS and 450 Nm of torque.
Mondeo will deliver sub-130 g/km CO2 emission options for every diesel engine at launch supported by the addition of Auto-Start-Stop technology across the range, including with automatic transmissions for the first time. Ford Intelligent All-Wheel Drive also will be available on Mondeo for the first time.
"With cutting-edge powertrains like the award-winning Ford 1.0-litre EcoBoost, our first hybrid to be built in Europe, and new twin-turbocharged high power diesel, we've improved fuel efficiency and CO2 without sacrificing the power and driving experience Mondeo customers have come to expect," said Joe Bakaj, vice president, Product Development, Ford of Europe. "The new generation of Mondeo delivers the right option under the bonnet for every driver."
The all-new Mondeo arrives in dealerships across Europe later this year with engine options including 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre EcoBoost, petrol-electric hybrid, and 1.6-litre TDCi and 2.0-litre TDCi with 150 PS or 180 PS. The new 210 PS 2.0-litre TDCi, 1.5-litre TDCi, 1.0-litre EcoBoost and all-wheel drive powertrains go on sale in 2015.
First Mondeo Hybrid Electric Vehicle
The all-new Mondeo Hybrid is the first hybrid electric vehicle ever manufactured by Ford in Europe. Available as a four-door, the hybrid will be assembled alongside the petrol- and diesel-engine Mondeo range at Ford's state-of-the-art facility in Valencia, Spain.
The Mondeo Hybrid adds a further dimension to the Mondeo portfolio for customers in Europe, following the success in the U.S. of its sister vehicle, the Ford Fusion Hybrid. Ford is now the second largest producer of hybrid vehicles in U.S.
Like the Fusion Hybrid, Mondeo Hybrid uses the third-generation Ford petrol-electric hybrid system that delivers the efficiency and refinement benefits of an electric powertrain in many driving scenarios while maintaining the driving range and freedom offered by a traditional combustion engine.
Two electric motors are used in the hybrid system - one to support the petrol engine in driving the wheels and another to enable regenerative charging to the 1.4 kWh lithium-ion battery, located behind the rear seats. The Mondeo Hybrid's high voltage electric system is designed to life standards similar to Fords traditional combustion engines and transmissions.
The Mondeo Hybrid is capable of driving at up to 135 km/h (85 mph) in electric mode, and the combination of a specially-developed 2.0-litre Atkinson cycle petrol engine and electric drivetrain delivers 187 PS with 4.2 l/100 km (67.3 mpg) fuel efficiency and 99 g/km CO2 emissions.
Drivers also can use Ford's Smartgauge interface to help monitor, manage and reduce fuel and energy consumption, with features including "Brake Coach" that encourages gradual braking to help return more energy to the battery.
"The Mondeo's petrol-electric hybrid powertrain means the driver does not need to do anything differently than with a regular petrol or diesel vehicle. They start it the same way. They fuel it in the same way. They drive it the same way," said Thomas Zenner, supervisor, Electrification Engineering, Ford of Europe. "The only thing the customer might want to learn is how to maximise their fuel economy by modifying their driving habits - and with Smartgauge we've given them the tools to do that."
Efficiency is further optimised by Electric Power Assisted Steering, and Ford-developed continuously variable transmission and control software. The Mondeo Hybrid operates without engine accessory drives for significantly reduced drag on the engine. Air-conditioning is powered electrically, as are the powertrain cooling and vacuum systems. A new exhaust gas heat recovery system enables faster cabin warming.
Award-winning EcoBoost technology
The all-new Mondeo will be the first car in its segment equipped with a 1.0-litre petrol engine. Ford's 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine was named International Engine of the Year in 2014 for an unprecedented third time in a row, and will join the Mondeo engine line-up in early 2015 with 125 PS and CO2 emissions of 119 g/km.
The 1.0-litre EcoBoost delivers the power of a larger engine with core EcoBoost technologies including high-pressure direct fuel injection and Twin-independent Variable Cam Timing. A low inertia turbocharger spins at up to 248,000 rpm, more than 4,000 times per second and almost twice the maximum rpm of the turbochargers powering 2014 F1 race car engines.
Efficiency is enhanced with a split cooling system that features separate circuits for the aluminium head and iron block, low friction coating for engine internals, a cambelt-in-oil design, and an ECU-controlled variable displacement oil pump that tailors lubrication to demand and optimises oil pressure.
Featuring the same engine hardware as proven in the Ford Fiesta, Focus, B-MAX, EcoSport, C-MAX and Grand C-MAX, Tourneo Connect, Tourneo Courier, Transit Connect and Transit Courier, the 1.0-litre EcoBoost fuelling and ignition calibration and gear ratios have been revised to deliver optimised performance for the Mondeo.
A small cylinder bore and long stroke contribute to peak torque of 170 Nm available from 1,300 rpm enabling the engine to comfortably deliver in a Mondeo-sized vehicle. Combined with a six-speed manual transmission the 1.0-litre EcoBoost offers 5.1 l/100 km (55.4 mpg) fuel efficiency.
All-new Mondeo will also offer Ford's new 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol engine with a choice of six-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearbox. The engine is equipped with the integrated exhaust manifold technology first introduced with Ford's 1.0-litre EcoBoost. This improves efficiency by helping the engine reach optimal temperatures faster, and also delivers torque more rapidly by minimising the distance exhaust gasses travel between the cylinders and turbocharger.
A new aluminium engine block features, and a water-cooled intake charge cooler delivers a more efficient feed of air into the engine, helping the 1.5-litre EcoBoost deliver 134 g/km CO2 - an 11 per cent reduction compared with the previous 1.6-litre EcoBoost petrol engine - and 5.8 l/100 km (48.7 mpg) fuel efficiency, while continuing to deliver 160 PS.
"The new 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol engine offers customers the very latest EcoBoost engine technologies in a smarter and more efficient package," Bakaj said. "More economical, smoother-running and free-revving, this new EcoBoost engine delivers an even more compelling option for drivers who love petrol performance and want low running costs."
Mondeo will continue to be available with Ford's 2.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine, offering 203 PS or 240 PS and a six-speed automatic transmission. Auto-Start-Stop is introduced to the powertrain for the first time - delivering a complete Mondeo engine line-up equipped with the fuel saving technology and reducing 2.0-litre EcoBoost CO2 emissions by 6 per cent.
Enhanced diesel performance
A revised 2.0-litre TDCi diesel engine with Variable Nozzle Turbocharger technology that adjusts to optimise boost at different engine speeds, is offered to Mondeo customers with 150 PS or 180 PS as part of a diesel range delivering sub-130 g/km CO2 emissions with every engine. The 2.0-litre TDCi features a revised engine block, new cylinder-head and fuel injection designs, and Ford's lean NOX trap exhaust after-treatment system for even cleaner emissions.
Efficiency is enhanced with an Active Thermal Management System that improves warm-up times by supplying cooling to specific components on-demand to reach peak efficiency faster; and a variable oil pump that reduces parasitic losses by increasing oil pressure on-demand.
Both the 150 PS and 180 PS 2.0 TDCi versions can be equipped with six-speed manual or six-speed PowerShift automatic transmissions, and in ECOnetic form deliver 107 g/km CO2 emissions and 4.1 l/100 km (68.9 mpg) fuel efficiency.
The 150 PS and 180 PS diesel engines also will be available with Ford's Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system, which offers a seamless transition between front-wheel drive and all-wheel-drive performance to automatically enhance traction and road-holding when needed. The system continually measures how the car's wheels are gripping the road surface every 16 milliseconds, and can adjust power delivery to individual wheels in 100 milliseconds.
Mondeo also is available with Ford's 1.6-litre TDCi diesel engine in standard and enhanced-efficiency ECOnetic variants. ECOnetic models deliver class-leading CO2 emissions as low as 94 g/km - a 14 per cent improvement over the previous generation - and sub-100 g/km CO2 even for the wagon bodystyle.
The optional high-powered 2.0-litre TDCi diesel engine will feature twin sequential-turbocharging and deliver 210 PS and 450 Nm of torque - available from 2000 rpm - with significantly reduced CO2 compared to the outgoing 200 PS 2.2-litre TDCi engine.
Electronically-controlled twin sequential turbocharging enables faster engine response. A small, low-inertia turbine is used to respond quickly to initial boost demand, and a larger high-inertia turbo is able to sustain greater boost pressure for peak performance.
"The new high-powered TDCi diesel engine follows the downsizing trend we've led with our EcoBoost petrol technology. Smaller engines deliver better fuel efficiency and emissions, and we claim the power back with advanced technology," said Andrew Brumley, chief engineer, Ford Engine Programs. "Twin sequential turbocharging delivers the seamless performance consumers want every day in all conditions, and makes turbo-lag a distant memory."
Ford Inflatable Rear Seatbelt to Make European Debut on All-New Mondeo; Harnesses Seatbelt and Airbag Attributes
Ford Motor Company's groundbreaking Inflatable Rear Seatbelt - which combines attributes of an airbag and a conventional seatbelt - will make its European debut on the all-new Mondeo later this year.
Ford's Inflatable Rear Seatbelt is designed to reduce head, neck and chest injuries for rear-seat passengers, often children and older passengers who can be more vulnerable to such injuries. In the event of an accident, the belt rapidly expands to disperse crash forces across a body area five times greater than that achieved by a conventional seatbelt.
"We've tested the system extensively using our entire crash test dummy family and it offers extra protection over the standard rear seatbelt system," said Joerg Doering, core engineering seatbelts engineer, Ford of Europe. "Bringing together the attributes of an airbag and a seatbelt is a significant development."
The inflatable belts operate like conventional seatbelts in everyday use and, in Ford's research, more than 90 per cent of those who tested the inflatable seatbelts found them to be similar to or more comfortable than a conventional belt because they feel padded and softer.
The technology was first offered on the 2011 Ford Explorer in the U.S. and proved immediately popular, with 40 per cent of buyers choosing the option.
As with an airbag, Ford's Inflatable Rear Seatbelt is activated when crash sensors detect an accident. This forces compressed gas out of a cylinder housed below the rear seat, through the buckle and into the belt. The Inflatable Rear Seatbelt is fully deployed in less than 40 milliseconds.
"It provides extra support to the head and neck and so is especially effective when worn by young children or the elderly occupants who are more vulnerable in accidents," Doering said.
Unlike airbags, which generate heat when deploying, Ford's Inflatable Rear Seatbelt inflates using cold compressed gas.
"The seatbelt has made the single biggest contribution to car safety and our Inflatable Rear Seatbelt provides even more protection to passengers," said Ulrich Koesters, vehicle line director, Ford of Europe. "Mondeo will be the first vehicle in its class to offer this technology and we're confident it will really appeal to customers."
How the All-New Mondeo's Advanced Air Filtration Could Prevent 'Driving Blind' After Sneezing at the Wheel
Trying to cope with a sneezing attack can be a source of amusement for passengers - and a source of discomfort for drivers.
But there's a serious side. Climate change and pollution now contribute to increasing numbers of people suffering from allergies, and sneezing at a speed of 95 km/h (60 mph) may result in "driving blind" for up to 20 metres.
Ford in Europe is now introducing on the all-new Mondeo a new air filtration system that blocks up to 99 per cent of pollen, almost all nitrogen dioxide - a key trigger of asthma - as well as gaseous pollutants and odours.
"Fresh air may not be as immediately apparent to drivers as how a car looks, or how it drives, but it is an important part of the quality experience delivered by Ford cars that will be equipped with the new filter," said Volker Scheer, technical expert, Environment and Health, Ford of Europe. "The new filter is 50 per cent more effective than its predecessor at blocking ultra-fine particles that are less than one thousandth of the width of a human hair."
Developed by engineers from Ford's European Research Centre in Aachen, Germany, the new filtration system is constructed from activated charcoal - similar to advanced gas masks, respirators, and spacesuits - and offers a considerably larger surface area. The air quality sensor detects carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide levels outside the car and shuts down incoming air. As required, it also automatically switches on the advanced filtration and air recirculation.
"The team drove test vehicles in areas of heavy congestion and concentrated pollution, such as tunnels, as well as deep into the countryside," Scheer said. "The resulting filtration technology is of a quality one would only usually expect in ultra-luxury cars. It also is much more durable, the replacement interval for the advanced filter system with the all-new Mondeo will be two-years/30,000 kilometres - almost twice that of its predecessor."
The technology will particularly benefit hayfever sufferers - more than a quarter of all Europeans. Research has identified that an attack of hayfever, while driving, may impair the affected driver to a degree that is comparable to a blood alcohol level of 0.04 per cent, close to the legal limit in most European countries. Sufferers are a third more likely to be involved in a collision.
"Climate change and increasing pollution levels mean that allergy sufferers are now facing a longer season, from January to October," said Uwe Berger, head of pollen research, Medical University of Vienna, who also coordinates www.polleninfo.org that offers real-time information about pollen levels in Europe. "Reduced exposure to pollen offers significant safety benefits as well as increased comfort."