Innovation That Matters

In-car 'coach' helps Ford drivers save fuel

Mobility & Transport

When we wrote about Fiat’s ecoDrive software back in 2008, we noted that it would be even more helpful to offer fuel-efficiency feedback in real time, rather than on a PC after the fact. Now gearing up to offer just that is Ford, which has developed technology that helps “coach” drivers on the road to optimize their miles per gallon. Building on the coaching concept Ford pioneered on its SmartGauge with EcoGuide cluster for the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid, among other cars, MyFord Touch enables drivers to monitor and track their vehicle’s real-time fuel economy performance and mile-per-gallon averages for the past five, 10 and 30 minutes. A bar chart next to the car’s fuel gauge displays those averages, and drivers can customize the amount of information provided. MyFord Touch’s map-based navigation system, meanwhile, offers an EcoRoute option that quickly calculates the most fuel efficient route a driver can take to get from point A to point B. Typically, that Eco-Route charts a course that avoids congested freeways while maximizing the use of major roads on which the driver can maintain an efficient rate of speed. When Ford of Europe engineers tested the feature, they achieved up to a 15 percent improvement in fuel economy, the company says. A video demonstrates the EcoRoute feature in action. MyFord Touch launches this summer on the 2011 Ford Edge and will be available globally on the 2012 Ford Focus; pricing has not yet been announced. The feature will also be standard on new Lincoln vehicles beginning with the 2011 Lincoln MKX. Brand butlers can serve consumers in many ways, but on cars, the most relevant and useful today is surely fuel efficiency. Won’t be long before this one becomes hygiene on the road, we’d predict. And what about the home? Household brands large and small—how about creating a brand butler of your own that helps consumers save energy where they live? (Related: Smart devices help households monitor their energy useSmart thermostat is always onlineHome energy monitoring, delivered by Google.)



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