Ford Prodigy Concept

Capable of achieving nearly 80 mpg, the Ford Prodigy concept was unveiled at the January 2000 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Its aerodynamic design, which yielded a drag coefficient of just 0.199, combined with its light weight, achieved through extensive use of aluminum, rendered it one of the most promising concepts of its era.

In October 1999, Ford was the first automaker to deliver a fully-functional hybrid electric family sedan research vehicle to the U.S. Department of Energy, as part of the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV) initiative. Called the Ford P2000 LSR, it demonstrated many production-feasible technologies for an uncompromised family sedan with extremely high fuel economy.

Prodigy capitalizes on the P2000 LSR’s small, energy-efficient diesel engine. Prodigy's 78 mpg diesel fuel economy is equivalent to better than 70 mpg on gasoline. PNGV’s goal was a production-feasible family vehicle achieving 80 mpg gasoline equivalent. Prodigy’s low-storage-requirement hybrid electric propulsion system includes an aluminum DIATA (Direct Injection, Aluminum Through Bolt Assembly) engine, starter/alternator, automatically shifted manual transmission and high-power battery. The DIATA engine is about 35 percent more efficient than conventional gasoline engines. This four-cylinder, 1.2-liter compression-ignition, direct-injection engine generates 74 horsepower at 4,100 rpm.

Helping to enhance the vehicle's aerodynamics are side-mounted cameras and onboard monitors in place of conventional side-view mirrors. Variable ride height, grille shutters and under-car shields also contribute to its slippery aerodynamics.

The clean, simple exterior design of the Prodigy features trapezoidal headlamps and tail lamps and a louvered grille that functions only when needed – opening and closing to allow air in and out. The taut surfaces coupled with the wider overall stance, with 19-inch, five-spoke chrome wheels and tires set to the very edges, give Prodigy a dramatic, sporty look.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in August of 2010 at the Portola Hotel & Spa and Monterey Conference Center, Monterey, California.

Source: Ford press and RM Auctions

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