Fleet News

Fiats to tell drivers how to save fuel

Cars will soon be able to tell their drivers how to drive more economically, thanks to a new development from Fiat and computing giant Microsoft.

The two firms unveiled EcoDrive at the Frankfurt Motor Show. It involves downloading vehicle efficiency data on to a PC, which then advises the user how to improve their driving style.

At the moment, official fuel consumption and emission figures for cars are obtained using professional drivers in laboratory conditions.

The cars are driven on rollers in a fixed temperature and humidity environment, with air conditioning, radio, lights and other devices switched off in order to ensure comparability with other cars.

It’s rare for cars driven in every day situations to get anywhere near those figures.

Cars equipped with EcoDrive collect data and save it on to a USB memory stick through Fiat and Microsoft’s Blue&Me interface (below). These include the Bravo, Grande Punto and the forthcoming 500.

The memory stick can then be plugged into a PC, where EcoDrive software breaks down the information into a detailed environmental performance report for each trip.

It analyses the driver’s style and provides tips and recommendations on how to modify it and both reduce emissions and save money on fuel.

Elena Bernardelli, marketing director at Fiat Group Automobiles UK, said: “EcoDrive will transform motoring as it allows people to change the environmental impact of their car.

Anyone who wants to make a bigger difference in terms of helping the environment will be able to do so with EcoDrive.”

The system encourages drivers to set themselves CO2 reduction challenges for specific journeys or over a set period of time.

EcoDrive will be available in certain Blue&Me-equipped Fiats from next year.

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