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Ford introduces B-MAX concept, previewing plans for small car market; 1.0L EcoBoost and start/stop

Bmax
The B-MAX. Click to enlarge.

Ford introduced its new new B-MAX concept vehicle at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, providing an early preview of its plans for the European small car market. The key innovation on the B-MAX is the adoption of an integrated B-pillar door concept. This new body design eliminates the traditional B-pillar structure at the trailing edge of the front door, which connects the roof to the floor. Instead, the body side features an integrated B-pillar, and access to the interior is via a conventional front door or a rear sliding door, each of which can open independently. This format has already been engineered for production.

To deliver the required performance in side impacts, the structure of both front and rear doors has been significantly strengthened, with ultra-high-strength Boron steel in key load-bearing areas, so that the door frames work together to absorb energy like a ‘virtual B pillar’.

Special safety interlocks and reinforced latch mechanisms ensure that the doors remain firmly fixed to the roof and floor structure during an impact, and enable the front and rear doors to act together to protect the occupants. These measures are combined with other structural enhancements to the bodyshell.

The B-MAX is powered by a three-cylinder 1.0-liter Ford EcoBoost gasoline engine equipped with the Ford Auto-Start-Stop system. This three-cylinder Ford EcoBoost engine was first previewed in the Start concept vehicle displayed at the Beijing Motor Show in 2010, and represents the next addition to the global family of Ford EcoBoost engines. (Earlier post.)

Like the 1.6- and 2.0-litre four-cylinder Ford EcoBoost engines, which have recently been launched in Ford’s European medium and large cars, the 1.0-liter unit combines direct fuel injection, turbocharging and twin independent variable cam timing to achieve significant reductions in fuel-consumption and CO2 emissions.

Designed to replace larger conventional four-cylinder gasoline engines, the three-cylinder Ford EcoBoost engine is undergoing final development prior to its production launch.

Based on Ford’s global B-car platform—shared with the new Fiesta—the B-MAX is 11 cm longer than the Fiesta five-door, and is 32 cm shorter than the new C-MAX. With this highly compact footprint, the B-MAX is placed to meet demand for downsized cars which are better suited to congested urban conditions, but without sacrificing interior space and comfort, Ford says.

Comments

Calvin Johns

Ford has really stepped up to the bat in recent years, looks like they are still looking forward!

ejj

I don't like the idea of sliding rear doors on small cars like this. What are you really gaining vs. conventional rear doors? Nothing. It doesn't look like ingress / egress for the rear seats is going to improved - it actually looks worse vs. regular doors judging from the picture. Overall vehicle stability is going to be reduced also - just a matter of time before annoying rattles. This is just a gimmick that'll disappear over time.

Lucas

I don't know ... A properly designed structure of carbon fiber combined with Aluminum would hold up without rattles, provided there was firm attachments in the latch works.

MG

It would perhaps make more sense to use 'suicide' rear door, like on Mazda RX-8. They are likely to be cheaper, and lighter - no sliding mechanism, just hinges.

Engineer-Poet

This does look like a synthesis of developments which ought to work out nicely. Not having a B pillar means that e.g. large cargoes can be loaded into fold-down rear seats.

I particularly like the turbo 1-liter. It's probably enough for most vehicles, and might be a good transplant to plug-ins from the C-MAX to the Fusion hybrid.

Rytooling

"I don't like the idea of sliding rear doors on small cars like this."

Try having kids and then get back to us...and save your opinions for something you know about.

SJC

Now now...play nice.

ejj

Ry TOOL ing...try learning how to read then get back to us: It doesn't look like ingress / egress for the rear seats is going to improved - it actually looks worse vs. regular doors JUDGING FROM THE PICTURE. Overall vehicle stability is going to be reduced also - just a matter of time before annoying rattles. This is just a gimmick that'll disappear over time.

HarveyD

It seems to be an improvement over 2-door cars. The smaller, more fuel efficient, 3-cyl units will be very well accepted in EU and Asia. A hand to Ford for adapting to a changing world.

EGeek

This car shares the current Ford Kinetic design cues and common driver cockpit electronics. The question is, is this a show car or a show car with 80 or 90% of what we see making it to the production line.

But, the question begs, is the sliding door the "Great Oz" i..e. pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. Ford also showed a sliding suicide door on the Flex Show Car 3 or 4 years ago now at the NAIAS. My guess? The slider doesn't make it to production and it maybe a head fake. Now with the B pillar missing a suicide door would allow a different but potentially easier entry, i.e. sit first and swing you legs in, if the door is far enough out of the way.

I share the sediment that the 3 cylinder Eco-boost could be a good prime mover engine for a larger hybrid. It would be interesting to see it linked up with their new "Energi" Hybrid System.

Patrick

"It doesn't look like ingress / egress for the rear seats is going to improved - it actually looks worse vs. regular doors"

With regular doors you would need a B-pillar (to attach the hinges to) and this would significantly reduce the accessibility.

If we are talking about a 2-door, the doors would be much larger making tight parking very problematic.

Suicide doors? maybe. The point with children is valid though. You wouldn't have to worry about the kids slamming the door into someone else's car (particularly in tight parking).

ejj

Why not keep the B-Pillars for stability, but do 4 sliding doors? Front driver & passenger slide forward, & both rear slide back. Tight parking & door dings (at least the dinging of other vehicles) solved.

Eclipsecar

it's really ingenious. We can not stop progress

rent car algeria

Rytooling

EJJacka$$ - you have no credibility. Try learning something about consumer needs. Ignorant armchair opinions are just that.

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