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Old 01-01-2008, 02:30 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Autoblog Prius review: more evidence of the power of MPG instrumentation

Autoblog (note - NOT AutoblogGreen) has posted a review of a 2007 Prius Touring, written by a self-described Prius "hater" who dissed the car regularly... until he drove one.

Read his review here.

I always find it interesting to gain insight (no pun intended) into what the "other side" thinks about efficiency. This review is good for that. (It's the same reason I liked reading many of the comments people have been leaving on other car enthusiast forums about basjoos' Aerocivic.)

But the key point I took from the piece was...

Quote:
Highway merging isn't a problem at all, and in most cases, you'll find yourself resisting the urge to bomb about, anyway. The reason for this -- and to me, it's the most impressive thing about the Prius -- is the car's innate ability to encourage economical driving.



This is largely due to the aforementioned "video game" screen ... that gives occupants a graphical representation of which elements of the drivetrain are doing what, as well as showing the battery's state of charge. ... I soon found myself using the Consumption screen ... It displays your current fuel economy, overall average fuel economy and a bar graph representation of fuel economy and recharging activity in 5-minute increments. This made it easy to see how consistently good (or bad) I was doing with regard to my fuel consumption
The Prius of course has much more to tell you about its operation than a non-hybrid, but the key remains: when it comes to getting people to consider efficiency & the impact of their behaviour on it, it's all about the instrumentation.

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Old 01-01-2008, 04:07 PM   #2 (permalink)
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MetroMPG -

Yeah, the ScanGauge as a "Game Gauge". The car-human/bio-cyber feedback loop can't be beat.

I think this would be a trivial requirement for cars today. All the data is "in there" in the ECU/PCM, so why not make it available to the driver? It doesn't have to be a fancy/schmancy big LCD screen. It could be a small 2"x2" LCD (or LED) fuel economy status gauge. I forget the article, but I know that one of the big-3 is mulling over making it standard on all their vehicles.

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Old 01-01-2008, 06:26 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cfg83 View Post
MetroMPG -

Yeah, the ScanGauge as a "Game Gauge". The car-human/bio-cyber feedback loop can't be beat.

I think this would be a trivial requirement for cars today. All the data is "in there" in the ECU/PCM, so why not make it available to the driver? It doesn't have to be a fancy/schmancy big LCD screen. It could be a small 2"x2" LCD (or LED) fuel economy status gauge. I forget the article, but I know that one of the big-3 is mulling over making it standard on all their vehicles.

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Old 01-02-2008, 06:35 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cfg83 View Post
Yeah, the ScanGauge as a "Game Gauge".
That's a great nickname for it.

Quote:
I know that one of the big-3 is mulling over making it standard on all their vehicles.
I didn't know that. I'd heard that Nissan was making them standard, and Toyota was making an "eco" idiot light standard on its JDM fleet. It would be quite something if one of the Big 3 did it.
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Old 01-02-2008, 08:49 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Tsx

The TSX has a pretty unobtrusive MPG meter in the center of the dash.

...between the tach and speedo. (no pics available -- tried )

The info system displays a variety of items, but I generally keep it on instant FE and cumulative tank FE for the 2 panels. The "bar graph" is a great feedback feature for anyone that drives the car (usually the Wife).

It lately showed the BIG difference in FE between cruising at 65 vs. 70.

The "Lame" feedback award goes to the Crown Vic LX -- A series of bars can be displayed to show "Fuel Consumption" -- no frame of reference, just a series of bars that go up and down. The top bar is 20+ mpg, maybe???

The Prius definitely has it. BMW used to have an analog gauge if I remember right -- may still unless i-drive drove it out.

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Old 01-02-2008, 10:05 PM   #6 (permalink)
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How old was the Vic, Rick? Your description almost makes it sound like they could have been using manifold vacuum as an indicator. Still better than nothing for the average driver.
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Old 01-02-2008, 11:48 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MetroMPG View Post
How old was the Vic, Rick? Your description almost makes it sound like they could have been using manifold vacuum as an indicator. Still better than nothing for the average driver.
2006 and 2007. They could've used vacuum and converter it to a digital output display. Maybe the owners manual would explain each bar's relative MPG.

Yes, you could either choose "Large Text" or "Normal Text" for the display (for the average buyer's age ) I will admit, that it helped somewhat around town, but with the big V-8, you either coasted and got all 5 bars, or gave it some gas and had 1-2 bars. Highway cruising was variable on the display.

You're right, at least it was some feedback. You just have to get out of "Cops" driving mode when you cruise around in it

RH77

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