Ford has introduced a ‘super-tough’ ignition key, which is designed to last a lifetime even in the hands of the most demanding drivers.
The manufacturer tested the key, which is currently for Transit and Transit Custom vans, to prove that is is capable of surviving 30 minutes submerged in water, being dropped 50 times onto concrete flooring, and being exposed to temperatures from as high as 60C down to -20C.
The fob for the key is very similar to all other Ford ignition keys, with a keypad to lock and unlock the vehicle, as well as a flip-style key blade.
However, it is permanently sealed shut, with the two halves of the plastic casing joined by friction welding, and a rechargeable battery cell which is charged every time the key is inserted into the ignition, so that the casing never needs to be cut open to replace the battery.
Jonathan Allan, who is the electrical engineering supervisor for Ford of Europe, said, “Our customers want a key which can tackle the hard knocks of construction sites and city deliveries, and keep coming back for more.
“While a mobile phone can sometimes let you down, Ford has ensured that Transit drivers have a key which is just as rugged as their vehicle.”
The full list of endurance tests which the keys have had to survive is a daunting one; five hours surrounded by a fine, penetrating dust, up to 96 hours of continuous exposure to diesel, petrol, ethanol, detergents, and sweat, four hours of non-stop vibration in a ‘pocket simulation’ with coins and other keys, 10 button presses with 12 times the usual force, and 100,000 activations in temperatures ranging from 50C to -10C.
The shockproof key is the latest generation in a design process which has been refined and developed through 10 years of feedback with Transit customers.