Ford is set to release its first hybrid sedan, the Ford Fusion, early next year. The fuel efficient car includes a novel ‘Smart Gauge’ dashboard designed to improve mileage and encourage greener driving habits.
Next year’s Ford Fusion (starting at $27,000) will have all the digital in-dash gauges one would expect from a gas-electric hybrid and then some. The green vine seen on the right side on the dashboard isn’t just a pretty picture reminding the driver of how they are saving the world each time they drive to the grocery store. The green vine is in fact a data-visualization tool intended to put an end to fuel wasting driving habits such as rapidly accelerating and braking.
When a driver speeds up and passes you in their sweet new Fusion hybrid and then slams on the brakes so you can read their witty bumper stickers about saving the world, that pretty green vine will start to wither and lose its leaves. When a driver accelerates gradually and maintains a reasonable speed, the green vine will grow and more leaves will appear.
I would assume that people who are environmentally conscious enough to buy a hybrid car already know how to drive in a fuel efficient manner. I feel that Ford has included this novel gauge on the car’s dashboard in an effort to boost sales after this year’s market woes rather than actually save fuel. While the ‘Smart Gauge’ might help save fuel to a small degree, companies should begin to rethink what a car can be if they are going to survive in the long run.
Michael Ratliff has been writing for years though he is relatively new to journalism. His interest in journalism stems from a love of science, nature and all things outdoors. Michael is currently employed by Vail Resorts as a children's snowboard instructor. In his spare time he enjoys reading, longboarding and surfing.