Many drivers know that they can save on fuel by laying off the accelerator pedal. Now, Ford is introducing commercial vehicle-first technology that helps drivers economize further by letting them know when to slow down in good time to avoid hard braking, based on what lies ahead, and even out of sight.
Ford’s EcoGuide technology uses the vehicle sat-nav to anticipate future driving situations that help inform the most fuel-efficient way to drive. It analyses driving behavior and offers feedback via the instrument cluster to help achieve the optimum efficiency for the road conditions ahead.
“Everyone has experienced occasions when we have to brake suddenly if a bend is tighter than expected, only to speed up again afterwards. EcoGuide will help avoid this, saving drivers fuel, time and stress,” said Michael McDonagh, Transit global chief program engineer, Ford of Europe.
Ford will first introduce EcoGuide to new Transit, Transit Custom van and Tourneo Custom people mover from mid-2019.
“Driving smoothly and assessing the road ahead as much as possible to avoid unnecessary braking and acceleration can improve your fuel consumption by as much as 12 per cent,” said Rebecca Ashton, Head of Policy and Research for U.K. road safety organisation IAM RoadSmart, which runs eco-driving training courses approved by the Energy Saving Trust.
Changing habits to boost efficiency
EcoGuide helps customers drive more smoothly by using information from Ford satellite navigation and giving them advance notice of road junctions, slopes and bends, or upcoming speed limits.
Based on this information, the system prompts the driver to decelerate, while the vehicle’s gear shift indicator advises the ideal gear, using icons in the instrument cluster, to avoid unnecessary braking or acceleration.
In addition, EcoGuide can provide drivers with feedback on their driving efficiency via a “halo” around the digital speed read-out, based on analysis of acceleration, braking, cruising and gearshift patterns. The halo expands as the driver adopts more efficient driving habits, and a report can be viewed at the end of each trip.
The new Transit delivers increased load‑carrying capability and upgraded powertrains that improve fuel efficiency by up to 7 percent. The new Transit also offers a segment-first new diesel EcoBlue Hybrid powertrain option that delivers an additional fuel efficiency improvement of around 3 per cent compared with the standard diesel model (up to 8 per cent in stop-start urban applications).