Ford has revealed its Easy Access Door System in the all-new B-MAX. This system merges the central body pillars into the doors in order to create 1.5-meter wide passable openings on either side of the vehicle. In this way, everyday motoring stress is also reduced. In most of the back-door openings, around half of that space is only provided.
The rear-hinged rear door of Opel Meriva provides maximum access of less than 0.7 meters in width. Ford of Europe's exterior design director Stefan Lamm commented that for many years, door systems like this have been "a designer's dream." He further stated that they have taken the concept from an idea on a designer's sketch pad, to a versatile and stylish product on the showroom floor.
He explained that they set themselves the challenge of re-imagining the small automobile. Lamm also said that they wanted to find a new solution to people's struggles with regard to the spatial challenges of city driving.
During the concept's development stage, a team observed drivers for several days in their daily routine to comprehend what customers exactly wanted in a compact automobile. Engineers then produced a practical and safe car that would meet those needs. They transferred the high-strength body-structure from the central body pillars and combined it into the doors directly in order to ensure exceptional crash protection, specifically during a side impact.
Special steels, which are made with ultra-high strength, were utilized in key areas of the doors and body to build an extremely stiff and strong structure without adding extra weight. These steels provide at most five times the strength of traditional mild steel. The process included rigorous analysis and testing at every stage.
At least 1,000 detailed computer simulations were made in a span of three years to optimize side impact crash performance. Each simulation took 24 hours to finish. It uses the equivalent computer-power of eight high-end PCs. These simulations were then put to a test in real-world conditions through a further 50 physical side impact crashes.