helps drivers maximize fuel economy
Ford Motor Company has received two patents
related to SmartGauge with EcoGuide, an instrument cluster for
The first patent was awarded earlier this year and covers EcoGuide,
the display of leaves and vines that “reacts” to short-term driving
habits and coaches drivers in a way that helps them achieve the
best fuel economy. The second patent, awarded March 1, covers
the power threshold gauge that measures and displays power demand
at any given moment.
SmartGauge with EcoGuide features two 4.3” full-color liquid
crystal display (LCD) screens on either side of the analog speedometer
that can be configured to show different levels of information,
including fuel and battery power levels, and average and instant
miles per gallon.
The power threshold gauge is important, explained David Watson,
research engineer and part inventor of SmartGauge with EcoGuide,
because it shows how close a vehicle is to switching from electric-only
mode to blended mode. With that information, the driver may adjust
driving behavior to try and keep the vehicle in electric-only
Taking a design cue from the Ford hybrid leaf logo, Ford graphic
designers developed an animation of growing leaves and vines
that track and reward a driver’s efficiency.
Called EcoGuide, the function also displays how many miles per
gallon a vehicle is getting at any given moment and estimates
how many more miles a vehicle has until it runs out of fuel.
The feature allows drivers to choose one of four data screens
•Inform: This is the basic level of information such as fuel
level and battery charge status.
•Enlighten: The default display mode, this screen displays what
mode the vehicle is operating in and instantaneous fuel economy;
it includes a tachometer.
•Engage: This screen includes a gauge that shows gasoline and
electric power use.
•Empower: This level gives a full range of hybrid information
that allows drivers to monitor the level of their driving efficiency.
All levels show engine coolant temperature and the gear the vehicle
is in. Also, they are customizable to show instant fuel economy;
fuel economy history; odometer and trip data, including trip
fuel economy; long-term fuel economy and miles to empty. And
while most competitive vehicles have some of this information
in the center stack, Ford has made it conveniently located right
in front of the driver on the instrument panel.