System helps hybrid drivers be green
Ford has announced that it has been granted two patents to cover the tech it uses in the cool SmartGuage with EcoGuide. This is the instrument cluster that Ford uses in some of its hybrid vehicles to help the driver get the best fuel economy possible.
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One of the patents covers the cool display of vines and leaves that react to the short-term driving habits of the driver. Less leaves means the driver is using too much fuel, more leaves means that the driver is being greener with their driving habits. The other patent granted covers Ford's power threshold gauge that helps the drivers adjust driving to be more efficient.
The first patent was granted to Ford earlier in the year. The second patent was granted on March 1. The SmartGuage with EcoGuide has a pair of 4.3-inch color LCDs on each side of a large analog speedometer. The screen can be configured to show three different levels of information. That info can include things like fuel and battery power levels and the average and instant MPG the computer calculates for the car.
The power threshold gauge is particularly important according to Ford's David Watson. Watson says that it shows how close the vehicle is from switching from EV mode to blended mode where the gasoline motor will kick on. That is a very important thing to know since the Ford vehicles have an electric only driving range but the more the throttle pedal is pushed the gas motor will kick on.
"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."
The SmartGuage with EcoGuide is available on the Ford Fusion Hybrid and the Lincoln clone the MKZ Hybrid. The driver can change what is shown on the gauge cluster using easy to reach controls.
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"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.