By Andrew Ganz
Tuesday, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 7:17 am
 
Today at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Ford took the wraps off of a new four-door, four-seat fastback concept car with a plug-in hybrid powertrain that will serve as a centerpiece for both its future design and technology.

The Evos concept car signals a new design direction for Ford.

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"We wanted the Ford Evos Concept to give a clear message about where Ford design is heading," said J Mays, Ford's design chief. "Our exciting new design DNA has been developed and refined by an intensive effort by all of our talented global design team."

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Penned in both the United States and Europe, the Evos is a fastback coupe-like car with four gullwing-style doors. While we wouldn't look for those unique portals to make production, it's safe to say that the more aggressive front fascia with its angled, almost Aston Martin-esque front grille will serve as inspiration for future Ford products.

Evos is about the length of a C-segment compact car, but it's wider than typical in order to give it a more sport-oriented stance.

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Inside, Evos boasts a driver-oriented cabin with limited switchgear. Instead, the car features a high-tech, cloud-based system of displays that actively grab information to both present it to the driver and to modify the vehicle for various conditions. For example, Ford says that Evos will automatically change steering and suspension response in accordance to varying weather conditions it might discern from cloud-based information sources.

Ford says it thinks of the Evos as a personal assistant, not a vehicular smartphone. The automaker says it is considering new systems that will help better integrate its infotainment devices - like those powered by its Microsoft Sync system - into the driving experience. For example, it says that the Evos could be programmed to automatically close a garage door or turn off lights when it senses it is leaving a user's house.

"The cloud-connected vision shows the enormous potential of tailoring the driving experience to suit the exact personal tastes and moods of the driver," said Paul Mascarenas, the company's global research and innovation chief. "From recommending a great driving road from friends on your social networks or resetting your alarm clock to let you sleep in when a morning meeting gets cancelled."

Powering this concept is a lithium ion plug-in hybrid powertrain that Ford says offers the same performance and fuel economy as the Ford C-MAX Energi the automaker will introduce here next year.