New Ford Focus drivers will be able to take advantage of a new in-car software application that monitors the impact of their behavior on fuel economy and then offers up simple hints on how to improve eco-driving skills through a fun scoring system.
EcoMode is a handy software application that coaches customers in the art of eco-driving – and then rewards those that practice more fuel-efficient driving skills with in-car kudos displayed on the instrument cluster.
“The foot of the driver has one of the biggest impacts on real-world fuel economy of a vehicle and was the starting point for the development of EcoMode,” said Thomas Schick, an engineer with the Ford of Germany Core Vehicle Integration team who helped design the software. “This is a useful tool that creates awareness between personal behavior and fuel consumption and offers up hints on how to improve. Applying those hints and recommendations is all up to the driver.”
Eco-friendly driving habits include:
- Using the highest drivable gear
- Smooth accelerations and decelerations
- Maintaining constant speeds and anticipating traffic flow
- Using cruise control on the highway
- Avoiding excessive idling
- Avoiding short trips with a cold engine
During a drive, the scoring system generates hints on how to gain more leaves for each discipline. A driver looking at the advice screen for Anticipation, for example, may see the hint “Smooth driving saves fuel” displayed on the cluster if he or she is accelerating, decelerating or braking unnecessarily. In Gear Shifting, driver advice might include “Early shifting saves fuel,” if the driver is not shifting up as early as possible in conjunction with their acceleration.
Focus drivers can review their generated score against the software’s optimized patterns for each of these disciplines. Scores are displayed using an easy-to-follow five-leaf icon, with two leaves set as the default and five leaves being the maximum achievable score.
What do you think about this new feature? Do you think it would really help you be a more efficient driver, or is it just a distraction? Share your thoughts in a comment!
Image Credit: automotive-fleet.com