Ford Dunton’s 40th birthday celebrations began with an official Royal visit, which gave HRH The Prince of Wales a behind-the-scenes glimpse of Ford’s future green products.
Ford’s flagship technical centre at Dunton, the UK’s largest automotive research facility, works on development of tomorrow’s fuel-efficient engines. As part of his visit The Prince drove a prototype Ford Focus engineered to achieve over 70 mpg and emit less than 100 grammes of CO2 per kilometre.
The sub-100g petrol Ford Focus is one of a future generation of frugal models across Ford Motor Company’s brands being developed as the result of a £1 billion UK investment in environmental technologies announced last year.
Graham Hoare, head of Ford Dunton, said: “Ford is delighted that The Prince of Wales marked Dunton’s 40th anniversary year with an official visit. His Royal Highness was among the first to champion environmental issues and we shared with him Dunton’s green technologies – including engines and transmissions – that are currently available or are being engineered for future applications.”
The Prince drove the Ford Focus prototype from the site’s environmental test laboratories – where vehicles are cold and hot weather tested in chambers simulating freezing (-40 degrees Centigrade) to tropical (+50 degrees) conditions – to Dunton’s recreation area. There he met Ford employees with 40 or more years company service and planted the first of 40 trees to be added to the Ford Dunton site this summer.
Ford Dunton, opened by then Prime Minister Harold Wilson in 1967, leads the company’s development of petrol, diesel and bioethanol-enabled engines; high-tech transmissions; and commercial vehicles. The results of development programmes by Dunton’s 3,000-strong engineering team are produced in Britain at Dagenham (diesel engines), Bridgend (petrol) and Southampton (Ford Transits).