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November 20, 2008

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Honda launches Ecological Drive Assist System to enhance real world fuel economy

New technology to feature on Insight hybrid from Spring 2009

Honda has announced a new Ecological Drive Assist System to help drivers achieve better fuel economy in real world driving conditions. 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.

Key features of the Ecological Drive Assist System

1. ECON Mode

ECON Mode applies harmonized control on the CVT and engine to support more fuel-efficient driving.

As soon as the driver presses the ECON button, the system will begin operating and the harmonized control of the CVT, the continuously variable transmission and engine will support more fuel-efficient driving. In addition, ECON Mode automatically achieves energy-saving control of the air-conditioning unit, extends the idle stop time, and increases regenerative recharging during deceleration to achieve more fuel-efficient driving.

2. Guidance function

The Guidance Function provides real-time fuel-efficient driving guidance

To increase driver awareness of more fuel-efficient driving, the ambient meter, which is a background color on the speedometer, notifies the driver of the current driving conditions. The ambient meter displays a green color when fuel-efficient driving is being achieved: a blue-green color when relatively fuel-efficient driving is being achieved with smooth acceleration and deceleration; and a blue color while the vehicle is consuming extra-fuel with bursts of acceleration or deceleration. The ambient meter enables the driver to be aware of real-time fuel consumption patterns, and encourages the driver to achieve fuel-efficient driving while trying to maintain the green color display. In addition, the ambient meter is the world's first such function to support fuel-efficient driving by responding not just to acceleration practices, but to braking practices as well.

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.

When 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.

Photos: Honda

(19.11.2008)


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