FUSION DELIVERS ADVANCED PROTECTION FOR CHANGING SAFETY LANDSCAPE
With the debut of the 2006 Fusion, Ford again raises the bar in vehicle safety. In addition to a long list of advanced safety technologies—such as Ford’s Personal Safety System™ with dual-deployment front air bags, energy-absorbing safety belts and load-limiting retractors—Fusion provides the added benefit of new larger side-curtain air bags and structural technologies that are intended to help it meet strict new side-impact tests.
To address those stringent standards, Ford safety engineers developed body structures that channel energy away from the passenger compartment, as well as energy-absorbing materials to cushion the effect on the vehicle’s occupants.
"We analyzed the vehicle’s structure in light of the complex forces that are involved in real-world crashes," says Kris Warmann, Fusion safety supervisor. "With science, smart engineering and a lot of hard work, we learned that it is possible to design even stronger safety performance into a vehicle in this class."
Fusion’s side-protection elements include:
The stiff structure of the Fusion also helps it withstand intrusion in a side impact. The tailor-welded B-pillars between the front and rear doorframes are stronger at the top of the vehicle—from below the beltline upward—than at the bottom. This helps to channel energy below the level of the occupants. At the torso level and above, the structure helps to prevent intrusion into the passenger compartment.
"The safety landscape has changed dramatically in the past decade. Vehicles are now bigger and speed limits are higher," says Steve Kozak, Ford chief safety engineer. "The Fusion uniquely addresses the challenges posed by larger vehicles, and that’s a huge comfort for sedan buyers."
FUSING SAFETY WITH TECHNOLOGY
With a structure designed to minimize intrusion and channel energy below the passenger compartment, the next task for engineers was to cushion a blow on vehicle occupants. One way is the use of energy absorbing expanded-polypropylene foam in key areas inside the vehicle.
The front and rear doors each have two foam blocks between the steel inner door panel and the interior door trim. One is in the chest region, the other at hip level. The foam block at hip level is approximately two inches thick for maximum crushability.
Interior trim parts are also designed to "give" if struck by an occupant’s head, torso or hip. Ford engineers have applied for a patent on one such structure designed to reduce the potential for head injury.
The overhead grab handles are bolted into a section of the steel roof structure that is stamped with a special pattern. Cutouts in the steel allow the handle base to push through, reducing resistance and absorbing energy.
OPTIONAL FRONT THORAX AND ROLL-FOLD SIDE CURTAIN AIR BAGS
Fusion also offers a package of side air bags that includes seat-deployed torso bags for front occupants, as well as a two-row air curtain that provides head-protection coverage over the length of the window glass area—from A-pillar to C-pillar.
The new air bags can prevent both front and rear occupants from hitting their heads on the side window or roof pillars in a severe side collision. In addition, the side-curtain air bag can help block glass splinters or other objects that could cause injury in a side impact.
Fusion’s new two-row air curtains also feature "roll-fold" technology—a Ford exclusive in the mid-size segment. If an occupant is resting his or her head against a window, the air bag is designed to slide between the glass and occupant as it fills.
Ford’s roll-fold keeps the air curtain against the glass, even when the occupant is out of position.
FRONT AND REAR IMPACT PROTECTION
Fusion’s performance in frontal impacts also benefits from new technology. For example, a layer of plastic composite made from polycarbonate and polyester—with a tensile strength of 12,000 pounds per square inch—resides behind the front fascia. It absorbs energy so efficiently that it has the added benefit of allowing designers to give Fusion a nearly flush front fascia without the appearance of a protruding bumper. The material maintains its impact performance to a temperature of more than 150 degrees F.
The front frame rails also use laser-welded steel blanks, combining strength with the ability to collapse and absorb energy on impact.
Energy not absorbed by the rails is channeled into the lower vehicle structure. Strong, fully boxed rocker panels transfer the load rearward.
Although final crash performance figures won’t be confirmed until the vehicle goes on sale, Ford expects full-frontal and offset-frontal crash performance to be among the leaders in the mid-size segment.
Energy absorbing crash structures are also engineered into the rear of the vehicle.
SMART AIR BAG AND RESTRAINT TECHNOLOGY
SMART AIR BAG AND RESTRAINT TECHNOLOGY
For occupant protection, Fusion has all the elements of Ford’s Personal Safety System™, including dual-deployment front air bags, energy absorbing safety belts, load-limiting retractors and pretensioners.
To tailor the inflation level of the front-passenger air bag, four "load cells"—which are like miniature electronic scales in the support structure of the front-passenger seat—determine whether the seat is occupied. Using a logic circuit that factors in weight on the seat, crash severity and whether the safety belt is being used, the onboard safety computer determines whether to deploy the passenger air bag and at what level.
On the driver’s side, deployment of the steering-wheel-mounted air bag is tailored to the seat-track position, which takes account of the driver’s distance from the steering wheel, as well as crash severity and safety belt usage.
As another example of the safety team’s attention to detail, the D-rings for the front-safety-belt shoulder straps use a new low-friction design. A pattern is cast into the flat part of the "D," reducing surface area to allow the belt material to slip through more freely in the event of a crash. This allows the pretensioners and load-limiting retractors to better do their work, reducing potential forces on the occupant’s chest.
Two LATCH child-safety-seat mounting points are provided in the rear seat.
SAFE AND SECURE
Ford Fusion’s solid structure and confident driving dynamics are the first line of security in challenging driving conditions. Enhancing the feeling of security are standard four-channel brakes designed to enhance driver control even under extreme braking conditions.
An available anti-lock braking system (ABS) helps improve braking on slippery surfaces while the optional traction-control system constantly monitors slip at all four wheels and can act in as little as 100 milliseconds to help restore or maintain traction. The system first reduces engine power by retarding ignition spark timing and, if necessary, reducing fuel flow. It then selectively activates braking to stop the drive wheels from spinning.
The car’s key with built-in fob buttons allows one-touch door locking or unlocking from outside the vehicle. Doors lock automatically once the vehicle begins to move. Available puddle lamps for exterior mirrors light the area around the front doors when the vehicle is unlocked for added security and convenience.
To protect against theft, Fusion is equipped with Ford’s SecuriLock™ passive anti-theft system. The system is designed to help prevent the engine from being started unless a coded key programmed to the vehicle is used. There are 72 million billion possible key code combinations. A remote perimeter vehicle alarm is optional.