Body Type:Pickup Truck
For Sale By:Private Seller
Interior Color: White
Number of Cylinders: 8
Drive Type: Automatic
Exterior Color: Blue
Vale, North Carolina, United States
Ford must be desperate to get itself ready for the beach this summer because it is really trying to get into shape. Shortly after unveiling the Lightweight Concept that cut the weight of a Fusion down to that of a Fiesta, it's now the rest of the line's turn for improvement. The company is wrapping up a 10-year research project aimed at developing next-gen automotive batteries to improve efficiency.
Ford claims that 70 percent of its lineup will have stop/start tech by 2017. The key to this massive proliferation is its new dual-battery system that combines a lithium-ion battery with a lead-acid one and regenerative braking. The setup works by harvesting braking energy and converting it to electricity. When the vehicle stops, the engine shuts off, but the Li-ion battery has enough juice to keep the accessories running. The engine starts up again as drivers take their foot off the brake. The layout would mean less wasted gas while idling. It's already available on Ford hybrids and is somewhat similar to the i-Eloop capacitor-based system from Mazda.
The bigger challenge is tuning the regenerative braking right. While hybrid drivers may be a little more adventurous, when it comes to getting a hang of regen braking, conventional buyers might not be so open-minded. The systems have a tendency to be a little grabby at first and then taper off at very low speeds. Ford needs to make sure it's just right to avoid turning off buyers.
Fiat Chairman John Elkann has been turning to an unusual source for advice on the car business. While speaking during an interview with The Detroit News, Elkann said he often asks Bill Ford Jr. for advice on how to proceed with the turnaround at Chrysler. "It's great to have the opportunity to share this with someone like Bill, who has experienced many things and gone through many things ... especially linked to Detroit." Elkann said.
As the Agnelli family heir, Elkann has inherited a long and fruitful friendship with the Ford family. While Giovanni Agnelli built his first Fiat four years before Henry Ford created his first vehicle, it was Ford that showed Agnelli the benefits of mass production and helped pave the way for what would become the Fiat empire.
Giovanni's grandson, Gianni, helped mentor Bill Ford when he was elected chairman of Ford Motor Company. Now, Ford is returning the favor by helping Elkann navigate the automotive industry's tumultuous waters.
Maybe so. The online retailer and digital media monolith recently announced the Amazon Cloud Player, an application for Ford Sync that allows users to stream media from their Amazon Cloud account directly to a Ford vehicle. This foray into automotive technology got the minds at Gigaom.com thinking about what could be next for Amazon. As Kevin Fitchard writes, the logical step is to make audio versions of your Kindle library selections available in your car. As he points out, Amazon has already laid the groundwork for such a move.
Amazon pulled the sheets back on Whispersync for Voice last year. The tech pairs ebooks with an Audible book for a small extra fee, allowing users to either read along with a narrator or switch between audio and text versions on command. Fitchard says it wouldn't be some great leap to apply the same principles to a car, where voice recognition software would allow users to pause or select chapters without ever taking their eyes off of the road.
It all sounds just fine to us, but Amazon hasn't said a thing about such a move. Still, we wouldn't be surprised to see the company come down this road in the near future just the same.