23 August 2007
Where's my electrical tape?
Nissan will be adding a fuel-economy gauge to all its US models over the next couple of model years.
[O]ne of the fifty bazillion display settings has caused an annoying MPG meter to be parked right in the center of the gauge cluster, a big red bar graph that spends a lot of time at 0 mpg, mostly because traffic isn't moving at that exact moment. I suppose this is intended to make people aware of their fuel consumption, but believe me, every time I fill a gas tank (fifteen times this month), I am acutely aware of how much I'm using. This might be more useful were it set for something other than instantaneous fuel economy, which, after all, is rather transient. (It's maybe 6 mpg during half-throttle acceleration in first gear, but this condition seldom lasts more than a couple of seconds, inasmuch as the car can reach 60 mph in less than six seconds, during which time it's upshifted to second.)
In a vehicle designed for maximum fuel economy as the primary goal your Priuses (I refuse to say "Prii") and such this sort of gizmo might be fun to play with. (And with the engine stopped at traffic lights, you're dividing by zero, so MPG is undefined at that point: it should be literally off the scale.) In a sports sedan, it's just one more distraction.
But Nissan really believes in these things:
Based on Nissan's trials, drivers have tended to improve their eco-driving habits over time, prompted by the real-time fuel-efficiency readings. Driving improvements also included smoother acceleration and braking, which potentially could lead to an average 10% improvement in fuel-efficiency.
Inasmuch as I'm beating the original EPA mileage estimates for my car by a smidgen and the revised 2008 estimates by a hell of a lot I think my "eco-driving" habits are just fine, thank you very much.Posted at 11:05 AM to Driver's Seat