Helping people become efficient drivers

When we began working with Ford, we proposed that building a successful hybrid car may have as much to do with the car’s driving interface as with its technology. We wondered: can design influence driving behavior? And can a smarter, more perceptive hybrid driver outperform their car? Our hypothesis was yes in both cases — brainpower should win over horsepower every time.

1. The EcoGuide gives the driver visual and audible input


2. Eliciting a physical and mental response leading to a change in driving behavior



Video courtesy of Ford

Interaction design that pushes the limits

The SmartGauge with EcoGuide is a game-changing, hybrid-centric instrument panel that empowers drivers with the data they need to make better driving decisions. Its rich color screen animates gauges that reflect fuel savings and a cluster of leaves that grow more green and lush as the driver achieves better fuel economy.

This real-time feedback loop solves one of the main challenges with hybrid driving: the fact that frustrated owners don’t hit the promised mileage, and worse, they have no idea why. The EcoGuide is such a unique feature that Ford actually patented it.

SmartGauge with EcoGuide installed in its Fusion Hybrids showed that Ford cares about mileage performance as much as their customers do.
The Fusion Hybrid was credited with lifting the carmaker’s sales numbers by 46% in its first year and contributing to its highest net profit in 10 years.
The design went on to win the 2012 “Best in Category: Disrupting” award from the Interaction Design Association.

Real results back by critical acclaim

In one of its first test drives, an auto reporter for The Los Angeles Times wrote, “The Fusion Hybrid uses a delightful, LCD instrument cluster with modules that coach drivers on how to save fuel… Brilliant.” He also managed to achieve an impressive 52 miles per gallon in West L.A. traffic — that’s 11 miles above the car’s official EPA mileage rating.

Today the SmartGauge with EcoGuide helps even more drivers increase their mileage now that it’s been applied to other Ford hybrid and electric cars, including the Lincoln, C-Max and Focus.