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The following article provides an overview about existing tools which support drivers in adapting a more energy-efficient driving style. For a more general overview about the topic, please refer to the article about eco driving.
Software Based (PC, Smartphone)
DriveGain Ltd. – DriveGain App
DriveGain has introduced an iPhone App that claims to save drivers up to €180 / $210 / £170 a year in fuel costs by following some simple visual and spoken hints. The DriveGain App uses the iPhone's built-in GPS system to calculate the vehicle's speed and rate of acceleration and deceleration. The visual displays include a recommended gear indicator and some sliders that drivers try to keep in the green. In addition, the App calculates fuel consumption, CO2 emissions and fuel cost per mile. By following the on-screen cues, DriveGain claims that it can help users save money on fuel while reducing CO2 emissions by up to 660 kilograms per year. The App’s database has over 16,900 different vehicles to choose from, however hybrid vehicles are not yet supported.
Garmin Ltd.: ecoRoute
With the ecoRoute software on the GPS systems, drivers can save money on fuel costs by finding more fuel-efficient routes. These routes are selected by factoring in fuel consumption data, the number of stops and speed limits, as well as further traffic circumstances. ecoRoute also gives a real-time feedback on the efficiency of the way of driving. ecoRoute’s Fuel Report automatically calculates details about the travel time and fuel usage. The Drivers can see time and distance traveled as well as the cost of fuel used and average fuel economy. The ecoRoute Driving Challenge makes a game out of saving gas by keeping a running score that reflects the current driving habits.
PH Informática – EcoSpeed
EcoSpeed is an iPhone App that is available for free at the Apple App Store. The speedometer uses the gearbox settings and GPS data to help the Car Owners to drive more efficiently and save money. It also presents useful information while driving.
Features of the app are:
- Gear adviser
- Top speed alert
- Sound alerts
- GPS position
- GPS signal
Quality Alliance Eco-Drive – App
By capturing refueling behavior and tire pressure settings, users of this iPhone App receive information about fuel consumption, saving potentials with ideal tire pressure, price development of fuel and the CO2 emissions. The app can be downloaded for free.
Toyota Motor Marketing Europe – A Glass of Water
The iPhone App – ”A Glass of Water” mimics a glass of water placed on a car's dashboard and challenges users to not spill a drop. Toyota estimates that the gentler driving style encouraged by this App would help consumers lower their fuel consumption by 10 percent, resulting in the lowering of CO2 emissions by 2 million tons a year. The App reacts to the driving behavior as if the driver had an actual glass of water on his dashboard: accelerating too fast or braking too suddenly will spill water. It also records the driving distance, time, fuel consumption and water spilled. After each drive the users can analyze their results and see on a map where they can improve their driving for the future. The results are automatically uploaded to the “A Glass of Water”-Website and compared to other participants.
Volkswagen AG; MTV Networks – CO2 monitor
By interviewing over 26,000 young people worldwide, Volkswagen and MTV Networks compiled the “MePublic” social media study. The international study gives an insight into media use and value concepts among the group of 14- to 29-year-olds known as “digital natives”. As the study shows, the young people would also like to see networking extend to the car. With the help of the iPhone App “CO2 monitor”, fuel consumption and other driving data is transmitted to a Volkswagen website and included into a driver ranking. Volkswagen is seeking to motivate its customers to develop an awareness of environmentally-friendly and fuel-efficient driving with this edutainment competition.
Hardware Based (On Board Unit)
KIA Motors Corp. – Eco Driving System
The KIA Eco Driving System consists of an eco lamp on the dashboard, which will guide the driver to drive in the most economical way. A green lamp will come on to indicate high fuel efficiency driving (i.e. traveling at a constant speed), while a red lamp will indicate low fuel efficiency (i.e. sharp acceleration, sudden braking). A white lamp will come on to show normal fuel efficiency or standby mode. The system is designed to encourage eco-driving by providing real-time feedback to the driver.
Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. – Eco-Drive and You
Nissan is adding a new service called “Eco-Drive and You” for its on-board CARWINGS navigation system in Japan. Since January 2007, Nissan CARWINGS members have been provided a range of services that have included fuel-efficiency rankings among owners of the same model and advice on efficient driving methods. The service has now been expanded to provide the same content found online via the onboard navigation system of car owners. Car owners can monitor their fuel consumption habits, experience better fuel-economy as well as receive helpful driving tips while on the road.
The service has three main components:
- Eco-drive check (audio and video display). This displays average fuel consumption, fuel consumption trends and the fuel consumption history and comparison to the last two records.
- Eco-drive ranking (audio and video display). This displays average fuel consumption history, the driver’s ranking among CARWINGS members with the same model and fuel expense annual savings.
- Driving Advice (audio guidance). This covers various topics for the driver, which also includes tips on better fuel efficiency.
Toyota Motor Corporation – Eco Drive Indicator
Based on a comprehensive determination that takes into consideration factors such as accelerator use, engine and transmission efficiency and speed and rate of acceleration, the Eco Drive Indicator, located on the instrument panel, lights up when the vehicle is being operated in a fuel-efficient manner. This is supposed to raise the driver’s awareness towards environmentally considerate driving and contribute to fuel economy. Although results may vary – depending on the level of traffic and conditions such as the frequency of starts from stop and of acceleration, as well as distance driven – the Eco Drive Indicator can improve fuel efficiency by approximately 4 % (as measured by Toyota).
Hardware and Software Based
Fiat Group Automobiles Germany AG: eco:Drive
eco:Drive was launched in October 2008 as a software application that is free to download at Fiat’s website. It works by asking drivers to plug a USB stick into their Blue&Me infotainment system (presented in all new Fiat models), where it records telemetric data from the car’s network. Plugging the USB into a computer allows the Fiat servers to analyze the journey data, on an anonymous basis. Algorithms measure driving efficiency based on four parameters: steady acceleration, steady deceleration, early gear changes and moderate and consistent speed. Drivers receive a star rating (out of five) for each of these indicators, and their performance overall on the four indicators is used to calculate an eco:Index score out of 100 – a higher score means more efficient driving. Drivers receive tailored advice on how to improve their performance on each indicator, and thus their overall eco:Index. Through their computer, they can track improvements over time, set targets and see how much CO2 they are saving.
“ecoVille” – an online community which shows the latest number of drivers using eco:Drive and the total CO2 emissions that eco:Drivers have saved up to date, has also been developed in connection to the app.
Ford Motor Company: Econo Check
The Ford Econo Check App calculates potential fuel savings for any car - based on make, model, age and annual mileage - and picks up fuel efficient driving tips on any iPhone or iPad. Ford Econo Check enables Ford vehicles to be fitted with a data logger to monitor how they are driven. Once the Econo Check chip is removed and data downloaded, a tailored report advises how modifying gear changes, anticipation, acceleration and braking will improve fuel economy. Resulting savings are also shown, which can be up to 25 % a year according to a study of 50,000 drivers.
PLX Devices Inc.: Kiwi
The Kiwi is a plug and play device compatible with all 1996 vehicles and up. Kiwi plugs into the existing on board diagnostic port (OBDII), located near the steering column. From this port, Kiwi is able to obtain detailed sensor information about the vehicle. A multitude of sensor data including vehicle speed, RPM, engine load, oxygen sensor readings are all analyzed to determine the vehicle’s optimum driving efficiency.
The PLX Kiwi uses mathematical algorithms to analyze the engine’s performance and driving behavior. The drive green lessons are designed to improve smoothness, drag, acceleration, and deceleration parameters. The Kiwi software operates much like a game. While driving, the daily goal is to obtain the highest “Kiwi Score” possible through an eco driving style.
Hardware and Software Based for Trucks, Buses, Passenger Cars and Corporate Fleets
FuelClinic – CarChip Pro
CarChip Pro is a compact interactive data-logger (about 1/2 the size of a Zippo lighter) that will record detailed information about the way of driving - directly from the car's ECM computer. It suits consumers and fleet owners looking to closely monitor their driving behavior and improve their driving habits. The recorded data can be downloaded to a PC for analysis using the included CarChip Pro software. It can be installed in the vehicle using the OBDII port that is standard on most cars since 1996.
CarChip Pro Features:
- Monitor driving habits and engine performance details
- Audible alarms ("beeps") help driver remain within limits (i.e. when they are accelerating too quickly, braking too harshly)
- Define a "EcoDriving Profile" and set thresholds with audible alarms
- Warns drivers when they are exceeding preset speed limit
- Records time, date, distance, speed, events and up to 4 separate engine parameters
- Records extreme acceleration and braking events
- Checks the emission system and smog-check readiness
- Stores up to 300 hours of "black-box" driving details.
Siemens VDO Trading GmbH – VDO EDM eco consumption indicator
The VDO EDM eco consumption indicator is directly connected to the engine electronics, and keeps the driver informed of current fuel-consumption, motivating him to drive at all times in an economical and environment friendly manner. At the same time, the device can be used as a module in a complex fleet management system.
Other Types of Hardware for Trucks, Buses, Passenger Cars and Corporate Fleets
FES GmbH – ECOdrive III
Connected to the control unit of passenger cars, transporters or trucks, the ECOdrive III allows its user to regulate the engine speed and maximum speed of the vehicle. The maximal engine speed depends on the charge and loading of the vehicle. If the vehicle has to drive uphill or with a higher loading the system allows a higher engine speed to always guarantee the adjusted maximum speed.
The advantages of ECOdrive III are:
- A safer and smoother way of driving
- Reduction of the fuel consumption by up to 15-20%
- Reduction of the CO2 emissions
- Eco-driving without analysis or data storage
- Every setting can be adapted to its users individual need
- Payback period under one year
SR-Car Expert e.K. – Eco Tuning
SR-Car Expert’s Eco Tuning leads to a reduction of fuel consumption by changing the motor software of the vehicle. The remaining durability of the vehicle and an additional reduction of CO2 emissions are further featuresof the Eco Tuning software. During several test rides, the tuning could lead to an average reduction of the fuel consumption by 15-20 %. The price for the tuning is €249.00, which will be amortized after 20.000 km.
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