Ford pillarless door system ‘offers twice the space’
The unique door system to be debuted on Ford’s B-MAX at the Geneva show will offer much easier access for passengers, according to its creators.
Ford says the Easy Access Door System, which integrates the central body pillars into the doors, creates twice as much space as rear-hinged doors.
The combination of the hinged front doors and rear sliding doors reveal a 1.5-metre wide opening on either side of the car. This compares to only half the space on other systems, with Ford highlighting the rival Vauxhall Meriva’s rear-hinged rear doors which offer around 0.7-metre wide openings.
According to Ford of Europe’s Exterior Design Director Stefan Lamm, such door systems have been a designer’s dream for many years.
“We set ourselves the challenge of re-imagining the small car – people are struggling with the spatial challenges of city driving and we wanted to find a new solution,” he says.
“We have taken the concept from an idea on a designer’s sketch pad, to a stylish and versatile product on the showroom floor”.
Ford engineers spent some time observing drivers in their day-to-day activities before coming up with the radical redesign that moves the high-strength body-structure directly into the doors from the central pillars.
Ultra-high-strength steels , five times stronger than conventional mild steel, were used in key areas to add the strength the structure required while avoiding additional weight.
Intense testing and analysis was carried out at every stage of the production, with more than 1,000 highly detailed computer simulations over three years to optimise the car’s side-impact crash performance, before a further 50 real-world tests were conducted.
To take full advantage of the door system the B-MAX also allows the rear and front passenger seats to be folded down, creating a large platform to accommodate an array of cargo.
Ford’s Chief Interior Designer Ernst Reim claims that the door concept allows the loading of large items, more than 2.3 metres long, through the side doors. “This makes a trip to the furniture store, or even a day at the beach with your surfboard, more realistic.”
CarandVanNews will be reporting directly from the Geneva show halls on press day – check back for all the important new models.
Words by: Andrew Charman