WATCH: How the ‘Ford Performance’ trolley makes life easier for these car washers
SILVERTON - Being tasked with keeping thousands of employees’ cars clean at Ford’s Silverton plant near Pretoria has turned out to be a huge opportunity for four entrepreneurial car washers in the area. But with only two water points in the giant car park, it also proved to be something of a mammoth task that ate into the efficiency of their operation, and thus their potential profits.
That is until Ford engineer Shaun Horsford spotted an opportunity to help, and then petitioned Operations VP Ockert Berry, who gave the green light for his team to step in and assist these service providers by creating a better and more efficient solution for moving their heavy buckets of water.
And thus, the Ford Performance Car Wash trolley, the first of its kind on the planet, was born!
Enlisting the help from Ford’s contracted fabricators, the team came up with the idea of manufacturing four easy-to-slide and sturdy Ford Performance trolleys, with the sides finished in racy Ford Performance branding. Like the Ford Performance Raptor, the trolley is Built Ford Tough to cope with carrying 200 litres, or roughly 200kg of water.
Acceleration times are difficult to quote for the trolley, as are power outputs and torque figures, which largely rely on the level of fitness of the driver. But in testing, top speed notably increased on downhills. And cornering seemed best with a load not exceeding 70-percent load-capacity!
The trolley has been independently reviewed by local trolley-testing authority Ciro De Siena, who was given an exclusive pre-launch test drive at the Silverton Assembly Plant. You can watch it in action in the video above.
“The suspension is firm, but you’d expect that from what really is a workhorse vehicle”, De Siena said. “After comparing previous water transport methods with that afforded by the new trolley, this first-generation car wash trolley is undoubtedly a game changer”, he added.
By making fewer trips to and from the water points, it is expected that the car wash entrepreneurs can increase their car wash rate per day, which will greatly increase their earning potential.
Furthermore, the cutting-edge technology used by the foot-operated drum brakes has negated the need for a handbrake, which shaves important seconds in the time-sensitive car wash business. This, along with the lightweight material chosen for the chassis and the revolutionary rear-wheel steering system, a feature usually reserved for performance cars, ensure dynamic and precise handling at any speed.
“The project was certainly a lot of fun to be involved in,” engineer Horsford said.
“We were already looking at ways to help. They are familiar faces to everyone who works at Ford and this was an opportunity for us to see what we could do for them, especially at this time of the year.”
“With these special trolleys we are able to help these entrepreneurs work more efficiently and have a bit of fun,” Horsford added. “By doing something like this we are also improving their quality of life as they no longer have to endure carrying heavy buckets of water across the parking lot.”
The official handover of these trolleys on 26 November would certainly have felt like an early Christmas for Sizwe Khumalo, Solly Mangena, Dominique Mbewe and Simon Moshidi.