Frigid temperatures dissuade many drivers from hitting the road during the cold seasons, but Ford's extreme climate team recently engineered new technology to protect drivers from any discomfort caused by inclement weather. Following the notably chilly 2013-14 season that brought teeth-chattering temperatures and high levels of snowfall across North America, engineers at the Blue Oval set out to build features that can efficiently counteract any similar circumstances in the future. Efforts to do so included a customer clinic in Edmonton, Alberta that fielded driving concerns from customers; the responses highlighted the challenges many drivers face during the harsh winters.
According to Nicole Mazur, Ford Canada's product development quality supervisor, “What our customers in Canada told us is simple – ‘Heat everything! They wanted better access to some of the cold weather features Ford was already offering on its higher-series vehicles." Learn more by watching the video below:
With that insight in mind, Mazur collaborated with job-share partner Melissa DeLuka to address the responses via cross-functional product development. Working with the extreme climate team, which serves to help Ford better comprehend and analyze customers' input in regard to extreme climate regions, they developed a variety of features such as a heated steering wheel, heated mirrors and more. The efforts to more adeptly understand the climate extend beyond North America - teams have also worked in the Middle East, China, and other areas to address needs specific to those regions.
“Sometimes, it’s about comfort, but other times it’s more than that,” says DeLuka in the same statement. “What much of the United States experienced with the polar vortex is what northern Canada gets every year.”
One popular feature amongst polled consumers was a windshield wiper de-icer; 82 percent of those surveyed said that would consider purchasing the feature if it was available. From there, Ford developed a suite of cold weather technology that made its debut in the 2017 Ford Escape.
Want to test out the new features for yourself? Come by Sound Ford in Seattle, Washington and test-drive the Escape today.