Ford's 24.7 Concept Wagon Gets Personal
9 January 2000
DETROIT -- Ford Motor Company's 24.7 wagon concept is designed to be family transportation that can be personalized to meet each user's needs. The 24.7 wagon blurs the boundaries between the traditional family station wagon and today's conventional sport utility vehicle with all the functionality and versatility needed for family activities. The wagon concept features customer-focused technologies that allow each member of the family that interacts with the vehicle the ability to access e-mail, a hands-free mobile phone, real-time route assistance, weather reports and custom features such as stock readings. "The 24.7 wagon is a new approach to functional family transportation," says J Mays, Ford Motor Company vice president of design. "It's not just 'Mom's' vehicle. It can put Dad's office on wheels or keep the kids connected to their friends through the Internet -- all with the simplest voice command." The technology also allows each family member to personalize the instrument panel to suit his or her personality and needs. Voice technology coupled with a reconfigurable projected image display -- developed by Visteon Automotive Systems -- gives each driver the ability to customize the instrument panel by changing the layout of the gauges and engaging additional functions such as e-mail, Global Positioning System (GPS) and video phone. The exterior design features simple geometric shapes and machined surfaces that give the vehicle a technical look and feel designed to complement the advanced communications and telematics technologies that make up the essence of 24.7. "The simplicity of the exterior design demonstrates that 24.7 is not about creating a highly stylized automobile that reflects the wants and needs of a particular designer. Instead, it is about developing a relationship with the consumer and having him or her be the personality that shines through the vehicle," says Mays. The four-door, six-passenger wagon features 17-inch, six-spoke matte aluminum-finished wheels wrapped in specially cut 245/50R-17 Goodyear tires with digital patterned tread. The side mirrors have been replaced with "lipstick cameras" that give the driver a panoramic view of their surroundings projected on the surface of the instrument panel. The front doors feature square-shaped push-button handles. Once the front doors are open, the rear doors can be opened from the center to the back, providing unrestricted access to the rear seat. The headlamps and taillamps are made up of white and red Light Emitting Diode (LED) lamps that illuminate instantly, last the lifetime of the vehicle and consume only a fraction of the power that traditional halogen lamps require. The 24.7 badging mounted at the center of the grille area is lit yellow to match the Yellow 2K exterior body color. When the key fob is pressed to unlock the vehicle, a light panel mounted in the interior headliner glows yellow, giving the wagon a warm, inviting feel. The interior features specially designed bench-like seats that resemble a clamshell in their construction. The exterior seat surfaces are covered in a light beige leather, while the inner parts of the shell are painted with the bright yellow accent color seen throughout the interior. Exposed parts of the seat structure are finished in aluminum. The rear seats fold down flush to the floor to allow for more cargo hauling area. Both the front and rear benches feature unique center consoles that, when raised, function as armrests and reveal cupholders. The instrument panel is dark gray in color. More importantly, the IP is a high-definition projection screen. Once the vehicle has been powered up and the driver has been selected, the gauges appear on the instrument panel in the ideal configuration for the specific driver. Using voice commands, the driver is able to choose the gauges that are active when needed. The available choices include speedometer, oil, fuel, GPS/map, Internet, e-mail, mobile phone, compact disc/tape/radio and clock. All the operations are voice-activated, allowing the driver to keep both hands on the wheel. 24.7's one-spoke steering wheel includes the controls for an auto/manual shift feature, which allows the driver to shift gears by pressing a button. A camera mounted below the rearview mirror is positioned to transmit images of the driver and passengers from the hands-free videophone. The floor is covered in rubber matting that has a unique pattern with randomly alternating circular shapes in the bright yellow accent color. 24.7 is built on the all-new Ford Focus platform that has been lengthened two inches. It is powered by Focus' 2.0-liter Zetec I-4 engine. "24.7 is not just transportation," says Mays. "It is about guiding you through life."