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Old 03-15-2011, 04:21 PM   #1
AVANTI R5
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Default * Ford has secured two patents for specific parts of SmartGauge with EcoGuide, a

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  • Ford has secured two patents for specific parts of SmartGauge with EcoGuide, a unique instrument cluster that coaches drivers to maximize fuelefficiency

  • One patent is for EcoGuide, the display of leaves and vines that "reacts" to short-term driving habits and coaches drivers on how to achieve their best fueleconomy

  • The other patent covers the power threshold gauge, which helps drivers adjust driving habits to be more fuelefficient

Ford Motor Company has received two patents related to SmartGauge with EcoGuide, an innovative instrument cluster for hybrid owners. The technology provides real-time information to help change driving behaviors and help maximize fuel efficiency.

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.

"Increasing gas prices have people paying more attention to the fuel economy a vehicle offers, but rarely do they look at their own driving habits to help boost miles per gallon," said David Watson, research engineer and part inventor of SmartGauge with EcoGuide. "These patents are a symbol of Ford's commitment to finding ways to positively change driving behaviors to help maximize fuel efficiency."

SmartGauge with EcoGuide features two 4.3-inch 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 milespergallon.
The power threshold gauge is important, Watson explained, 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 mode.

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.

"These two parts contribute to the overall purpose of SmartGauge with EcoGuide, which is to help drivers instantaneously achieve maximum fuel economy," said Gil Portalatin, hybrid applications manager.
SmartGauge with EcoGuide is available on Ford Fusion Hybrid and Lincoln MKZ Hybrid.

The feature allows drivers to choose one of four data screens including:
  • 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 user-friendly, conveniently located right in front of the driver on the instrument panel.

Ford researchers, designers and engineers collaborated with IDEO and Smart Design, two world leaders in helping consumers connect with technology, as well as automotive electronics technology supplier Johnson Controls to design and develop the unique instrument cluster.

Watson said these are just the first two patents that SmartGauge with EcoGuide has earned, and that he expects the technology will earn more.
Ford is committed to providing fuel-efficientvehicles for drivers around the globe. Record investment in new engines, six-speed transmissions and new fuel-saving technologies such as EcoBoost, twin independent variable camshaft timing and electric power-assisted steering has raised the fleet average fuel economy performance for Ford vehicles faster and at a greater percentage than any major automaker, according to a report from the EPA.

In total, Ford has 12 vehicles including cars, utilities and crossovers in the U.S. that lead their sales segments in fuel economy a number no other automaker matches. Ford also offers four vehicles with 40 mpg or better in city driving.


SOURCE Ford Motor Company
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Old 03-15-2011, 05:31 PM   #2
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Booooooooo.
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Old 03-15-2011, 05:47 PM   #3
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Booooooooo.
whyyyyyyyy?
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Old 03-15-2011, 06:03 PM   #4
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Becaaaaaausssssseeeeee, I hate nagging lights, especially ones that are aimed at changing my driving habits. These lights are almost always the result of some green movement or initiative and I absolutely hate everything on that front. I say boooo.
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Old 03-15-2011, 06:20 PM   #5
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Becaaaaaausssssseeeeee, I hate nagging lights, especially ones that are aimed at changing my driving habits. These lights are almost always the result of some green movement or initiative and I absolutely hate everything on that front. I say boooo.
Not the car for you.
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Old 03-15-2011, 06:35 PM   #6
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to you. No kidding it's not the car for me, it's just the opportunity I need to complain about green weenies though.
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Old 03-15-2011, 07:15 PM   #7
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to you. No kidding it's not the car for me, it's just the opportunity I need to complain about green weenies though.
Oh, you're not in the market for this car? It seems like you would buy one if only they didn't have this nagging, customizable option. Sheesh, STOOPID AUTOMAKERS! Don't they know there's only one kind of buyer?!
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Old 03-15-2011, 07:18 PM   #8
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I missed the part where I have to be in the market for a turd to know that I don't want or like it.
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Old 03-15-2011, 09:31 PM   #9
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I missed the part where I have to be in the market for a turd to know that I don't want or like it.
I missed the part where it's necessary to complain about a feature on a car you wouldn't purchase anyway. Is it that hard to click the back button and go about your life?

For us "green weenies" it's nice to have this kind of technology, especially as customizable as it is. I, for one, enjoy the challenge of hyper-miling, as it provides an opportunity to be actively involved in the art of driving - every day, every commute, every trip to the grocery store. Much more enjoyable than buying a Mustang GT and yearning for on-ramps and stoplight drag race opportunities, being frustrated when you get stuck behind school bus or a grandmother in a Buick, or waiting for those rare opportunities to cut loose on a track - all while burning through much more gas than you needed to, under the circumstances.

Yes, I love fast cars. I've owned a couple. But they don't serve my needs anymore, and it's possible to find driving enjoyment with lower fuel and insurance costs. And that's what this technology is geared toward.
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Old 03-16-2011, 08:42 AM   #10
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The idea is neat, and great for most drivers, but the thought of driving so conservatively that vines are growing over my gauge cluster just doesn't appeal to me.
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Old 03-16-2011, 01:37 PM   #11
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Oh how could you loathe pretty leaves on your driver display

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