More B-MAX Bumph!
Another day; another press release from Ford about the all-new Ford B-MAX. Boy, are they trying to push the boat out for their new baby.!
What are they telling us about this time, and what angle are they trying to sell to the world? What is their Unique Selling Point that they are trying to use to get us to buy one?
Ah! This time they are focussing on safety; not only for the driver of the car and the passengers but also for the pedestrian (if there’s one involved in any breach of safety factors (otherwise known as a crash!)
“Maintaining occupant safety and delivering all the benefits of the Ford Easy Access Door System was a key objective for us,” said Klaus-Peter Tamm, chief programme engineer, Ford of Europe. “The development team used innovative engineering solutions – and filed multiple patent applications – in the development of this unique car.”
So now you know – they’re just thinking of you, the customer, when they made sure that more than 50% of B-MAX body-shell and doors are made from high strength steels and that the Ford Easy Access Door System featured reinforced latches and integrated central pillar for effective impact resistance and safety
And what does all this mean when the front and rear doors are reinforced with ultra-high-strength boron steel and 58% of the whole body and door structure uses high-strength and ultra-high-strength steels?
Well, in the event of crash in which there is a major impact to the side (or any impact really) “the door frames work together to absorb crash energy. In extreme instances, special crash catchers (which lock the doors together), a reinforced latch mechanism and an integrated central pillar combine to ensure the doors remain firmly attached to the roof and floor structure”. Tests over five years undertaken by Ford showed that the B-MAX was capable of withstanding a side impact force in excess of 165 kilonewtons; the equivalent of a small car being dropped from a height of 6.5 metres or the combined weight of three elephants. So maybe avoid going near a circus for a while, or a drive through a safari park just in case!
Obviously, you’re not intending to crash, but then you aren’t the only person on the road, and some people out there aren’t as safety conscious as you, so all that steel would be handy if someone decides they want to get into your car with theirs!
The seven state-of-the-art airbags help too: driver and front-seat passenger airbags, 3D Thorax side airbags, curtain airbags that run the entire length of the cabin and a driver’s knee airbag. It’ll be like being in the middle of a giant marshmallow if it ever happens (but don’t try this at home kids!) And, because it is illegal to have a child sitting in the front passenger seat if there is an airbag on that side, the B-MAX is the first Ford to enable deactivation of the front passenger airbag through a standard instrument panel switch. Nifty!
B-MAX will also be available with a suite of smart and safe technologies that are aimed at the drivers to help them avoid accidents and support them should they find themselves in an emergency. One such way is with Emergency Assistance (enabled by SYNC), which helps the occupants to call the emergency services directly in the event of an accident, as standard and without subscription; the first Ford in Europe to have it too!.
As with all Fords, B-MAX features Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) – a braking and stability system that helps the driver maintain control of the vehicle under extreme conditions, but it’s also got Ford’s award-winning Active City Stop technology. This system monitors the road ahead and applies the brakes automatically if it detects a collision with a slow-moving or stationary vehicle in front of the car.
And they’ve not forgotten you, Mr & Mrs Pedestrian (of all ages.) The B-MAX has been carefully engineered to reduce the risk of injury to pedestrians by minimising hard contact areas on the area between the hood and windscreen known as the cowl area. As long as you hit that you might be OK!
“But aren’t those hinged front doors, sliding rear doors and integrated central pillars difficult to make safe?” I hear you asking. Why no! Ford have ensured that they meet stringent safety standards. In fact Ford have made sure that a five-year test programme that subjected the B-MAX to 5,000 virtual collisions and 40 real-world crashes was undertaken; and a three year programme to check rear-door safety and the whole Easy Access Door System.
“We’re delighted with the performance of B-MAX,” said safety project manager Tom Overington. “We are targeting a maximum five-star safety rating when the vehicle is assessed by Euro NCAP later this year.”
All this safety expectation and the car isn’t even available in the UK until September.
Oh well, another 4-5 months of press releases then! What next?