No key needed for new Ford carsKeyless technology comes to the mass market

11 March 2008

Ford has announced that its new Focus and Mondeo cars will be keyless.

Smart technology now means that drivers no longer need a key to unlock their car or start the engine.

Instead, carrying a 'transponder' unit in a pocket or bag, owners can get into their car by pulling the door handle.

The transponder communicates with the vehicle so the car unlocks automatically once the driver grips the door handle.

Ignition

Once you're inside the car, the ignition is triggered when you touch the Ford Power button with the clutch pedal depressed – the button is the same as that fitted on Ford rally and racing cars.

If you want to switch on the car without revving up, you can touch the Ford Power button without engaging the clutch.

Ford says the ignition technology was first demonstrated by James Bond in the movie Casino Royale when Bond drove the new Ford Mondeo.

To lock the car after you park it, there’s a button on the driver’s door handle or boot lid, but Ford does provide a conventional key as well, with an electronic fob.

Antennae

Ford believes the keyless technology will be ideal for drivers in a hurry or carrying bags, particularly in bad weather.

Rolf Schmitz, Ford electrical engineering manager, said: ‘Locking your car key inside the cabin becomes a mistake of the past because the system’s interior antennae sense the key’s whereabouts inside the car and stops the locking mechanism.’

Which? spokesman Anthony Hume said: ‘Some of this technology has been around on more expensive cars, but it’s nice to see that it will be available on the mass market now.

‘Stealing cars has reduced since the introduction of immobilisers, but we’ll have to see how effective this technology is at stopping thefts of radios or satnavs.’