Dearborn, Michigan – Ford has announced it will equip its new 2010 Ford Fusion with its SmartGauge with EcoGuide, a new instrument cluster that provides real-time information to help drivers maximize fuel efficiency. The gauge will also be used on the sibling Mercury Milan Hybrid, which isn’t sold in Canada.

“SmartGauge with EcoGuide gives the customer real-world feedback to make the most of their hybrids,” said Gil Portalatin, Hybrid Applications Manager. “Unique to Ford and Mercury hybrid sedans, this instrument cluster acts as a good ‘coach’, engaging drivers real-time to help them achieve maximum fuel economy.”

Ford collaborated with IDEO and Smart Design technology companies to develop the cluster. It consists of displays on either side of the centre-mounted analogue speedometer, with a special greeting that combines illumination and graphics. EcoGuide then uses a multi-layered approach to coach the driver, including a tutorial mode built into the display that helps the driver learn about the instrument cluster and the hybrid.

Drivers will be able to select one of four data screens: Inform, which shows fuel level and battery charge status; Enlighten, which adds an electric vehicle mode indicator and tachometer; Engage, which adds engine output power and battery output power; and Empower, which adds power to wheels, engine pull-up threshold and accessory power consumption.

All levels can show instant fuel economy, fuel economy history, odometer, engine coolant temperature, what gear the car is in, and trip data. Long-term fuel efficiency can be displayed either as a traditional chart, or by a display that shows “growing” leaves and vines on the right side of the cluster that grow more lush with greater fuel efficiency.

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