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Ford Lets the Light Shine within Fusion Interior

Ford Motor Co. has put some serious research into the science of using light and color in car interiors and that has manifested itself inside the Ford Fusion.

Two Ford experts – Interior Chief Designer Michael Arbaugh and Mahendra Dassanayake, Ford technical leader for design – gave a talk entitled, “The Science and Design of Lighting” at Ford’s Product Development Center in Dearborn recently.

They said that research shows that a person’s attention span is limited, and lighting can play a key role in providing a driver with critical and noncritical, driving-related information, all without diverting attention from the task at hand.

“Lighting gives you a sense of orientation. It’s a unique combination of functionality and comfort. Lights, graphics and displays are critical to drivers; we need to make sure that information is presented to the customer in an effective way,” said Dassanayake.



In the case of the Fusion interior, developing the “ice blue” color in the ambient, or accent, lighting palette was critical, since it is a shade that can help keep drivers and passengers more alert.

Ford researchers have tested how the lighting affects the vehicle’s interior from the driver’s perspective, checking the textures and materials under a multitude of lighting conditions to make sure that glare and reflection are limited on smooth surfaces and that eye strain would be minimized.

Certain levels of light actually trigger enzymes in the brain. Those enzymes then cause emotional responses within the body – states of being we recognize as stress or calmness or happiness.

So, it’s not your imagination – Ford research says color really can affect how you feel. In fact, it affects everything from your buying choices to your blood pressure.

On the Ford Fusion, the palette is ice blue, purple, blue, orange, red, white and green. The palette allows the customer to set and change each color, depending on wants and needs.

Fusion offers customer seven interior lighting options including ice blue, purple, blue, orange, red, white and green.

To meet new government fuel efficiency standards, some vehicle manufacturers are omitting heavy spare tires and equipping new vehicles with an emergency sealant and inflator kit or tires that, if damaged, can run reasonable distances without air. In 2010, the Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Agency established new corporate average fuel economy standards for vehicle model years 2012 to 2016. The new standards are set at a combined 29.7 mpg for the 2012 model year, increasing to 34.1 mpg by 2016.

One area of focus is to reduce the weight of vehicles without compromising occupant safety. A spare tire, related tools and a jack can weigh more than 40 pounds. That may seem like a small amount but every little bit helps and unlike other weight-saving changes, it doesn’t add cost to the vehicle.

“Unfortunately, many vehicle owners may be unaware that their vehicle has no spare tire until they experience a flat tire,” says John Nielsen, AAA National Director of Auto Buying and Consumer Information.

AAA recommends the following to ensure drivers are informed and prepared:

• Inspect the car and consult your owner’s manual. If the vehicle has a spare, be sure it is properly inflated and stowed. If you cannot locate a spare tire, ensure your vehicle has an alternate solution. Options include the run-flat tires that allow the car to be driven to a safe location or an emergency sealant and inflator kit.

• If you carry a sealant, AAA recommends that you check the date and replace it every five years or after its use. Sealant can become less effective with age.

• AAA members needing assistance with a flat tire can re- quest roadside rescue at (800) AAA-HELP or by downloading the smartphone app, AAA Roadside.

AAA members can also eliminate the stress of buying a new car by using the AAA Auto Buying Tools App. Build the car you want, including color and trim level, and the AAA app will give you information on available options, available incentives, crash safety ratings, AAA reviews, images and more.

Ford used the 2013 Fusion as a test-bed for a series of color and neutral interior lighting tests. Ford research showed that interior lighting accents are an important car function.

Content provided courtesy of Detroit Auto Scene. For more automotive news visit

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