Oct 29, 2008

2010 Ford hybrids to include sexy SmartGauge video instrument panels

If the Ford Motor Company still exists by 2010, its Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan hybrids will roll out with some pretty snazzy instrument panels. In the middle, you see the conventional speedometer, but on either side, there are video screens that use elegant animations to show you EcoGuide, clearly showing you how that lead foot of yours is destroying the planet.

The system lets you decide how much information you want to see, reading out such data as battery-charge status, tachometer, engine output power, accessory power consumption, and amount of power applied to the wheels. It even shows charts and graphs, interesting enough to endanger your safety. Then when you're on a long cruise, you can simplify the display to show you basic info such as how many miles until your tank is empty.

By the time the 2010 model year rolls around, hopefully other hybrid car makers will follow suit with even swankier displays of their own. Take a look at a video of the graceful animations and forward-thinking readouts Ford has created, with a little help from industrial design gurus IDEO and Smart Design:

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