Ford is rethinking electric vehicle engineering, offering innovative ways to make EV technology practical, affordable, and fun to use. Most recently, the brand created the Ford Transit Smart Energy concept vehicle, which has a surprising fix to conserve energy: ambient lighting.
What does ambient lighting have to do with EV technology? One of the common issues with many electric vehicles is that amenities such as air conditioning and heat can seriously reduce driving range — sometimes up to 50 percent. So, Ford has added ambient lighting to influence the psychology of drivers. Red lights tend to make us feel warmer, while blue lights do the opposite. It’s a simple fix, but it’s surprisingly effective.
“Our exposure to color can change our mood in all sorts of ways,” said Lioba Müller, lighting team engineer, Vehicle Architecture, Ford of Europe. “Here, it is simply a case of using red ambient lighting inside the car to make people feel warmer and blue ambient lighting to make people feel cooler.
To date, engineers have managed to reduce energy consumption from heating and cooling by 3 percent using this technique. That might not sound like much, but it’s just one step forward in making electric vehicles ideal. The new Ford Transit Smart Energy vehicle also has a heat pump to recover energy from the engine as well as solar panels — just two of the other innovations that make this vehicle truly unique.
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