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Ford announced Thursday that the navigation system in vehicles with MyFord Touch (an interface that provides easy access and controls for Ford’s onboard communication system, Sync) will let drivers select a route that prioritizes not only distance or time, but also efficiency.

As much as 75 percent of drivers in the U.S. want to see in-dash MPG gauges, according to a survey from the Consumer Federation of America. At that rate, it appears some degree of “hypermiling,” — the practice of changing driving behavior and in some cases making tech mods to vehicles in order to eke out ultra-high MPGs — holds at least some allure for the mainstream. Tonight at the SAE World Congress in Detroit, Mich., Ford Motor Chairman Bill Ford announced a new tool that could help the automaker capitalize on that interest.

Ford announced Thursday that the navigation system in vehicles with MyFord Touch (basically an interface that provides easy access and controls in the dash for Ford’s onboard communication system, Sync) will let drivers select a route that prioritizes not only distance or time, but also efficiency — avoiding congested freeways and stop-and-go traffic while maximizing more open roadways likely to allow a constant, efficient rate of speed. In addition, Ford said a new tool will provide feedback to drivers about how their driving behavior affects real-time and cumulative fuel economy. Drivers will be able to view average miles per gallon over the past 5, 10 or 30 minutes.

Hypermiling has gained the most traction among hybrid drivers — notably those behind the wheel of a Prius, one of the first models to prominently display fuel economy data in the dash. And Ford previously developed an instrument cluster dubbed “SmartGauge with EcoGuide” for a pair of hybrid models that, as Grist put it recently, tells “the driver (nicely) whether to ditch the lead foot or keep the good times rollin’.” But as part of MyFord Touch, the new tool will appear in regular gas-powered vehicles, too, starting with select models in the 2011 model year and later extending across all new Lincoln vehicles.

Ford says the efficient routing tool can boost fuel economy by up to 15 percent. We’d like to see much bigger gains. But this type of tech — like the smartphone apps designed to arm drivers with similar data about real-time and cumulative fuel economy, or GreenRoad’s system for the commercial fleet market — represents a tool that’s relatively easy to implement. In combination with other technologies, it could help to reduce emissions from the transportation sector, the fastest-growing source of greenhouse gas emissions in the country since 1990.

 

Photos courtesy of Ford

By Josie Garthwaite

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  1. Ford really should move faster to bring light-duty diesel vehicles to the US market as a fast route to environmental improvement. When Americans are given a chance to buy a clean diesel vehicle over a comparable gasoline vehicle, many take it (ahem, F150):

    http://www.greencarcongress.com

    Back in 2002 the U.S. EPA estimated that if one-third of all vehicles in the U.S. were clean diesel, we could eliminate oil imports from Saudi Arabia. This still holds true. Until we get to the point when everyone is driving some sort of electric drive, we really should be trying to reduce our fuel consumption every way possible with existing technology.

    Clean diesel cars get 30-40 percent better fuel economy than comparable gasoline vehicles (competing with hybrid performance), and some 25 percent better CO2 per mile performance, and emissions meet California’s strict rules. It’s not zero, but it’s a good start:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUVpfcStWAg&feature=player_embedded

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  2. please make you user frendiy options more euser frendily. I hauve options for your powerstrkoke fans and other s that would cost you little and save you a lot . like my 6200 lb powerstoke dropping dead in the street . i ihave alwrey sufferd i stokoke , and suffered another in the streets of clovis n.m. e lampley flampley @plateautel.net. 3859 quay rd ai maicaister n.m. 88427

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  3. [...] want to surf the web, watch videos on in-vehicle screens (only while parked, one would hope), and monitor things like real-time and cumulative fuel economy (see our list of 8 iPhone Apps for Car [...]

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