Honda Insight Concept introduces Ecological Drive Assist System

Article by Christian Andrei, on November 20, 2008

Japanese carmaker Honda has developed a new technology – the Ecological Drive Assist System -- aimed at helping drivers achieve better fuel economy. To start with, Honda will install this new system on the new Insight family hybrid car that will be released in spring 2009.

When released, the Ecological Drive Assist System will be the world’s first system that combines three different functions to improve fuel economy. One of them is an ECON Mode that controls engine, transmission and other powertrain parts to support more fuel-efficient driving.

Just by pushing the ECON button on the dashboard, this mode can be activated right away for a more fuel efficient driving. ECON mode doesn’t only control the engine, CVT and other powertrain components, it also makes the needed adjustments on the air conditioning unit and extends idle stop time.

Furthermore, this model’s regenerative recharging during deceleration improves the Insight’s fuel efficiency. Another function is a guidance function that should help drivers become more fuel efficient while driving with the aid of the color of the speedometer display. Acting like a guide, this function features an ambient meter in the form of a background color behind the speedometer display. Colors change according to the vehicle’s real time fuel consumption.

For instance, the ambient meter will display a green color when fuel-efficient driving is being achieved. On the other hand, it will display a blue-green color when relatively fuel-efficient driving is being achieved. Lastly, the meter will display a blue color during heavy fuel consumption.

Therefore, ambient meter should increase the awareness of drivers of their real-time fuel consumption patterns, thereby encouraging them to be more fuel efficient. The Ecological Drive Assist System’s Ambient Meter is the first technology in the world that encourages drivers to become more environmentally responsible by responding to braking practices as well as acceleration. The third is a scoring function that provides immediate as well as long-term feedback on driving techniques.

This function -- located within the Multi-Information-Display in the center of the instrument panel -- provides cumulative, long-term feedback using graphic ‘leaves’, which ‘grow’ over time as a drivers learn and execute a driving style that improves fuel economy. The display shows a score reflecting the real time driving performance of the driver as long as the ignition switch is turned on.

When the switch is turned off, the ‘leaves’ in the top row will display a score for the most recent trip. Drivers can view their cumulative lifetime performance or ‘lifetime score’ through the horizontal bar in the bottom row of the display. The function’s Multi-Information Display allows fuel economy figures for the past three trips to be viewed. The display could also show instantaneous and average fuel economy statistics.

Because of the visual nature of the scoring function display, drivers will find it both easy and enjoyable to improve their driving skills and their efficiency in using fuel.

As planned, the Japanese carmaker developed the Ecological Drive Assist System to help customers improve their fuel economy in real world conditions. When the technology debuts in the Insight in the spring, it will be the world’s first function of its kind to provide real-time and post-trip assessments of the impact of driving habits on fuel economy.

Surely enough, the Ecological Drive Assist System will bolster the appeal of the Insight that will arrive in the United Kingdom in the spring next year. As has been announced, the Insight will have a price that is significantly lower than any other hybrid on the market.

A production version of the Insight will be unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show, in January 2009. John Kingston, Government Affairs and Environment Manager at Honda (UK) remarked that while hybrid technology delivers great fuel economy and low emissions, these can be affected by driving style. He noted that the new technology encourages greener, more efficient driving, “in a fun and engaging way.”

Press Release

New Insight Technology Helps Drivers Maximise Fuel Economy

Honda has announced a new Ecological Drive Assist System to help drivers achieve better fuel economy. The technology will feature on the new Insight family hybrid car, which goes on sale in spring 2009.

It will be the world’s first system to combine three different functions to enhance fuel economy: an ECON Mode which controls engine, transmission and other powertrain components to support more fuel-efficient driving; a guidance function that helps drivers become more fuel efficient behind the wheel using the colour of the speedometer display; and a scoring function that provides instant and long term feedback on driving techniques, after each journey.

Honda developed the Ecological Drive Assist System to help its customers improve their fuel economy in real world conditions. The scoring function provides cumulative, long-term feedback through graphic ‘leaves’, which ‘grow’ over time as drivers learn and then implement a smooth driving style that boosts fuel economy. The visual nature of the scoring function display makes it easy and enjoyable for drivers to improve the efficiency of their driving skills over time.

“Hybrid technology delivers great fuel economy and low emissions, but these can both be affected by driving style,” says John Kingston, Government Affairs and Environment Manager at Honda (UK). “This new package encourages greener, more efficient driving, in a fun and engaging way.”

The technology will further boost the appeal of the Insight, which is due to hit UK showrooms in the spring next year. Honda has already announced that the 5-door family car will be significantly lower in price to any other hybrid on the market, making petrol-electric technology accessible to more people.

A production version of Insight will be unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show, in January 2009.

To learn more about Honda’s Ecological Drive Assist System and the new Honda Insight, please visit: Honda - Ecological Drive Assist System

Key features of the Ecological Drive Assist System

1. ECON Mode
By pushing an ECON button on the dashboard, drivers can engage ECON mode to support more fuel efficient driving.

As well as controlling the engine, CVT and other powertrain components, ECON Mode also adjusts the air conditioning unit, extends idle stop time and increases regenerative recharging during deceleration to enhance the fuel efficiency of the Insight.

2. Guidance function
The main part of the guidance function is an ambient meter in the form of a background colour behind the speedometer display that changes to indicate real time fuel consumption.

The ambient meter displays a green colour when fuel-efficient driving is being achieved: a blue-green colour when relatively fuel-efficient driving is being achieved with smooth acceleration and deceleration; and a blue colour during heavy fuel consumption.

The ambient meter makes the driver aware of real-time fuel consumption patterns, and encourages the driver to be more fuel efficient, while trying to maintain the green colour display.

The Ambient Meter is the world’s first technology of its kind that encourages environmentally-responsible driving by responding to braking practices as well as acceleration.

3. Scoring function
The aim of the scoring function is to engage drivers in more fuel efficient driving, and encourage them to develop a more environmentally-responsible driving style.

The scoring function is located within the Multi-Information-Display, in the centre of the instrument panel. This part of the Ecological Drive Assist System uses graphics of tree leaves to ‘score’ the fuel-efficiency of the driver’s performance.

While the ignition switch is turned on, the display shows a score reflecting the real time driving performance.

When the ignition switch is turned off, the ‘leaves’ in the top row display a score for the journey just completed, while a horizontal bar in the bottom row of the display gives a ‘lifetime score’ that represents cumulative lifetime performance.

The Multi-Information Display also allows drivers to view fuel economy figures for the past three trips, as well as instantaneous and average fuel economy statistics.

When the technology debuts in the Insight in the spring, it will be the world’s first function of its kind to provide real-time and post-trip assessments of the impact of driving habits on fuel economy.

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