Ford SmartGauge with Eco Drive
Some people buy hybrids and are disappointed with their mileage – they aren’t getting what they were promised. Why? Because driving style makes a big difference. Knowing this, our team at Smart Design recommended to Ford that they shouldn’t just think of the instrument cluster as a one-way flow of information, vehicle to driver. The vehicle’s computer knows what the car is doing, but also knows what the driver is doing. Starting with a blank slate (or should I say two blank LCDs) we suggested that we design the cluster to influence behavior – ultimately, use design and information to improve mileage. The Ford SmartGauge is Ford’s first generation of LCD-based instrument panels designed to help drivers drive more efficiently.
The EPA rated the Ford Fusion Hybrid at 41 MPG city, 36 MPG highway. Journalists in test drives reported getting 50 MPG and more when guided by the SmartGauge. So does that mean, through design alone, we increased mileage by 9 miles per gallon?
Here’s a link to an article titled Ford’s Green Plan to Drive Sales at BusinessWeek Online.