DEARBORN, MI --- Pushing a vehicle to the limit takes on a new meaning in the new 2010 Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan hybrids, thanks to Ford's SmartGauge with EcoGuide -- an instrument cluster that provides real-time information to help drivers maximum fuel efficiency.
"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."
Ford collaborated with IDEO and Smart Design to develop the instrument cluster.
"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 driver is immediately engaged by the SmartGauge displays, on either side of the center-mounted analog speedometer, with a special greeting that combines illumination and graphics.
EcoGuide then uses a multi-layered approach to coach the driver to maximum fuel efficiency. A tutorial mode built into the display helps the driver learn about the instrument cluster and the hybrid in a whimsical way.
For instance, drivers can choose one of four data screens to choose the information level displayed during their drives:
-- Inform: Fuel level and battery charge status
-- Enlighten: Adds electric vehicle mode indicator and tachometer
-- Engage: Adds engine output power and battery output power
-- Empower: Adds power to wheels, engine pull-up threshold and accessory power consumption.