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A Reminder Of Ford's Innovative SmartGauge™

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On: Wed, Sep 30, 2009 at 1:35PM | By: Nick Truden

A Reminder Of Ford's Innovative SmartGauge™

There are plenty of perks to owning a hybrid. The main one being the added fuel economy, but how does the owners keep track of how 'green' they're are driving? Ford has the answer to that with their 2010 Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan Hybrid models with something they have dubbed SmartGauge™ with EcoGuide.

This news, albeit a year old, is still relevant and considerably important especially now that these vehicles are on sale to the public. Consumers, now more than ever, want to spend their money wisely. To do that they want to know every facet of what they are purchasing, including how much money they will save in the long-term by owning a hybrid vehicle. SmartGauge™ with EcoGuide, Ford’s all-digital LCD instrument panel cluster for their hybrids, gives drivers more options in controlling what they see.

When you first enter the vehicle the screen comes on, showing a screen of cloud-filled sky and green grass which resembles a computer's desktop wallpaper. Once the vehicle is started the full instrument panel expands from the speedometer in the center to show all of the gauges, including the standard fuel and temperature and a new one called Efficiency Leaves. An animation of leaves growing on a vine indicates how efficiently or inefficiently the driver is operating the vehicle on the road. If you are driving conservatively the leaves will grow, but if you have a lead foot and use more of the gas engine the leaves will decrease.

Of course. with an all-digital display there are bound to be more problems than with a non-digital one. Various issues attributed to LCD panels, ranging from dead pixels to blurred areas of the screen inhibiting a clear view of vital information, will most likely occur, and, of course, be expensive to repair once the warranty runs out.

All in all, Ford’s new instrument panel technology will make hybrid car driving a bit more fun and interactive, but will it maintain constant accuracy further down the road? I have a suspicion that in the future not only will your engine need tuning, but your instrument panel as well.

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RoadKill | 1:54PM (Wed, Sep 30, 2009)

Really nice toy, but if you are trying to squeeze the most out of your batteries, how much juice does a panel like that require? would a standard gauge fare better?

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