Would you want your car to be at its optimum level no matter what the climate is? Ford wants to make sure that its cars are prepared for climate extremes and as part of that aim, it created a team that conducted tests on the performance of the new Ford Focus in various circumstances. The tests also determined if the driver and the passengers remained comfortable.
Ford tested the Focus in locations such as frozen lakes, deserts, and high Alpine passes. What Ford's climate control test team did was to ensure that the car’s EATC (Electronic Automatic Temperature Control) system is capable of handling any conditions.
The team tested in Antequera in Southern Spain. During the summer, its temperatures could rise above 40 degrees Celsius. In fact, it is known to be one of the hottest places in continental Western Europe.
Ford systems engineer Klaus Schuermanns said that Ford is evaluating the EATC system subjectively and objectively so that the team can finalize its calibration. He added that this data will be used to compare how it “feels inside the car.”
The team will also look at the breathing level temperature, among other objective data, to “make adjustments to fine tune the system.” Tests were done on both a four-door version for the North American market and a five-door European-spec Focus.
Over 200 sensors were position throughout the car, recording data on ambient temperature, AC pressures, engine speed, and sunlight. Klaus also talked about the “pull down test,” wherein two cars that had been driven 250km in the motorway are parked side by side in direct sunlight for an hour.
The cabin reaches about 60 degrees Celsius. Then the cars are driven 30km or so to check how long it takes for them to get back down to the chosen comfort point.