SmartGauge w/ EcoGuide, Ford’s idea as to rewarding better driving behavior for much higher fuel economy.
Wayne Gerdes – CleanMPG
– Oct. 29, 2008
Ford's new SmartGauge with EcoGuide -- A unique design with two, high-resolution, full-color liquid crystal display (LCD) screens within the instrument cluster.
DEARBORN, Mi. – Maximizing a vehicles fuel consumption takes on a new meaning in the new 2010 Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan hybrids, courtesy of Ford’s new SmartGauge with EcoGuide.
“SmartGauge with EcoGuide gives the customer real-world feedback to make the most of their hybrids,” said Gil Portalatin, Hybrid Applications Manager. “Unique to Ford and Mercury hybrid sedans, this instrument cluster acts as a good ‘coach,’ engaging drivers real-time to help them achieve maximum fuel economy.”
“The main question hybrid drivers had was, ‘How do I know I'm getting the most out of my hybrid?’ ” said Jeff Greenberg, Ford senior technical leader. “We needed to create a system that better communicates with drivers and gives them the tools to maximize fuel efficiency. That’s what SmartGauge with EcoGuide does.”
The somewhat advanced driver feedback is provided by two displays located on either side of the center-mounted analog speedometer. The standard instantaneous Fuel Consumption Display (iFCD) and averaging Fuel Consumption Display (aFCD) layouts plus SoC and an energy consumption like vertical EV bar graph.
The EcoGuide uses a coaching approach to help the driver learn about their hybrid in a way that is said “not to overpower.”
Four data screens
- Fuel level and battery charge status (SoC)
- An electric vehicle mode indicator and tachometer
- Engine output power and battery output power (Energy Screen)
- Propulsion and Accessory power use including power to wheels, engine pull-up threshold and accessory power consumption
All levels can display the iFCD, aFCD history, odometer, engine coolant temperature, what gear the car is in and trip data (aFCD for a given segment, time-elapsed fuel economy and miles to empty). The engine coolant temperature indicator turns green when engine coolant temp has reached the level that allows Engine Shutdown (ICE-Off for us).
Besides accessory power consumption, the real advance is in end user customization. The four components can be customized to fit your wants, needs or a given situation. The standard aFCD, iFCD, SoC and EV displays can be viewed under most conditions. When in the city, the SoC status and ICE-Off/ICE-On threshold information will be a key far beyond anything we have seen from a consumer based display. The not yet available, OEM Toyota Prius PHEV can display a power output threshold before ICE-On operation and is the closest we have seen to this all-new, Ford high end instrumentation.
After your trip is complete, a new shutdown screen reveals fuel consumption information about your latest trip.
Similar to the FEH, longer-term average fuel economy can be displayed via a chart and not a gimmick by any means. There is an additional display however and one that Ford calls “innovative” which shows “growing leaves and vines” on the right side of the instrument cluster. The more efficient a customer is, the more lush and beautiful the leaves and vines. I will not bother telling you about the more superfluous adjectives used to describe this "plant growth"
Similar to the Honda Insight, The iFCD can be hidden as each of the EcoGuide levels are brought up or removed to suit the needs of individual driver and minimize distraction.
Note on the upcoming FFH/MMH (Ford Fusion/Mercury Milan Hybrids). Along with the new displays, the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan hybrids are expected to offer class-leading fuel economy and include a newly designed drivetrain featuring a higher speed 47 mph EV/Glide threshold
They will be arrive in dealer showrooms in the first quarter of 2009.
Inform: Fuel level and battery charge status
Empower: Adds power to wheels, engine pull-up threshold and accessory power consumption
Engage: Adds engine output power and battery output power
Enlighten: Adds electric vehicle mode indicator and tachometer