Will digital trees on your dash make you a more economical driver?

Honda has announced the development of the Ecological Drive Assist System for their 2009 Insight hybrid, which combines three functions to enhance fuel economy.

The ECON Mode optimises control of the continuously variable transmission and engine for more fuel-efficient driving at the push of a button.

The guidance function uses speedometer color to provide real-time guidance on fuel-efficient driving. Green means you are driving economically but if your foot gets a little heavy it turns blue. Why blue? Why not orange or red?

2009 Honda Insight guidance function

Honda: 2009 Honda Insight guidance function

The scoring function provides feedback about current driving practices, as well as feedback on cumulative, long-term fuel-efficient driving.

2009 Honda Insight dash

Honda: 2009 Honda Insight dash

The number of ‘leaves’ displayed indicates the level of fuel-efficient driving performance. When the ignition switch is on, the display scores current driving performance. When the ignition switch is turned off, the ‘leaves’ in the top row display the score for the latest driving cycle (startup to shutdown), while a horizontal bar in the bottom row displays the 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.

I like my gadgets but I’m not sure I need to see trees growing on my dash to know I’ve been driving economically. I reckon the instant feedback of the guidance function, the ability to see instantaneous fuel consumption, average fuel consumption, average fuel consumption for the past three trips and the cost of filling the tank at the petrol station would cover it!

The dash would be easier to read if it was less cluttered. Ditch the trees I say. What do you think?

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