Published on May 4th, 2009 | by Scott Cooney6
Last week, in an experiment some cast aside as a PR stunt, several drivers drove a Ford Focus Hybrid car 1,445 miles, approximately double how far Ford estimated it could go, on a single tank of gas using Eco-Driving techniques. The drivers were well versed in Eco-driving methodology, making the results of the test far less likely to occur in the general public. They averaged just above 20 miles per hour over their 4 day test, which is 3 days, 23 hours, and 58 minutes longer than the average American’s patience driving without speeding.
Eco-driving technology might help keep people from losing patience–and interest. Nissan unveiled plans in 2008 for an Eco-Pedal, that, among other things, would push back on the driver’s foot during periods of heavy acceleration, not to a point of stopping fast acceleration, but just to a point of reminding lead-foots that they are being, well, lead-footed. The “SmartGauge with EcoGuide” will be available on the Ford Fusion Hybrid and the Mercury Milan. Next year, Honda will utilize software in their Honda Insight Hybrid that will grade the driver’s eco-driving, something likely to be quite popular with those who choose to purchase Insights. It’s called Eco Assist.
With Eco-Driving having been proven to consistently reduce fuel usage by drivers (reports of anywhere from 15-50% are fairly normal), this could be a key element to reducing our dependency on foreign oil. Will the U.S. ever go the route of Sweden and Germany and require Eco-Driving techniques be taught in Driver’s Ed?
Scott Cooney (M.S., M.B.A.) is the author of Build a Green Small Business: Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (McGraw-Hill), and will be writing a feature on how to make money teaching Eco-Driving on Triple Pundit this Friday.