As you will probably come to find out over the next weeks and months, I am a huge fan and advocate of hybrid cars, and I’ve found my new, clean baby for the week: the Ford Reflex. Exposed at the 2006 Detroit auto show, the Reflex is innovation in every sense of the word, and not just because of its unconventional power sources.
Talk and production of hybrids has become commonplace lately. However, the Ford Reflex has moved beyond the standard electric motor/gasoline combination into cleaner territory, marrying an electric motor with a diesel engine. The result is very high performance, 0-60mph in under 7 seconds, certainly not record breaking, but fast in its own right. And while experiencing this sort of performance, the Ford estimates that the Reflex will get an actual fuel efficiency of between 40 and 65 mpg, an astounding number.
But Ford is not done looking to the future of automobiles with the engine; nearly every inch of the Reflex smacks of being futuristic and nostalgically sci-fi. The headlights, powered in part by the solar panels on the roof of the Reflex, look like something directly out of a Star Trek episode, while the Delorian-esq doors bring about thoughts of Back to the Future. While this is a very odd-looking car, I truly like the look of it.
The interior of the Ford Reflex is no less extraordinary. With a backseat that can be either one adult seat or two child seats with the press of a button, constantly monitored by a rear facing camera, the Reflex can be either a family car or a more sporty, single person’s car. A unique safety feature is the airbags that are attached to the seatbelt, blowing up on contact and providing more surface area and less intensity of restraint. One of my personal favorite features is the insulation of the Reflex, made from recycled Nike sneakers, really stepping up to the environmental protection plate. Another great feature is a blowing unit that sucks the hot air out of the car while it is park, once again powered by the unobtrusive solar panels that adorn the roof of the Reflex. While Ford does not seem to have a release date in mind for the Reflex, I hope that it is soon, because the world could use more cars with the ingenuity and cleanliness of the Reflex.