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Friday
Sep112009

Improving the MPG bar graph

The FFH has a bar graph that you can display in the dash that shows MPG over a 10, 20, or 60 minute period.  There are 10 bars so each bar is the average mpg over a period of 1, 2, or 6 minutes:Each bar shows mpg over a 6 minute period

During a recent 600 mile trip to Maine I realized that this gauge is not as useful as it could be.  It frequently happens that there is a bar that has a very low mpg next to a bar with very high mpg.  Imagine the bar graph is set for 10 minutes (so each bar shows mpg during a minute) and the time period for a bar is just beginning.  You happen to be gliding the car in EV mode 50 feet to a stop at a traffic light.  Say this takes 15 seconds.  Then you wait at the light for 45 seconds.  The bar appears and its over 60 mpg because you were in EV mode or stopped for the whole minute.  Yeah!  Then you accelerate from the light and head up a hill for a minute, going 1/2 mile.  The next bar comes up and the mileage is dismal - 20 mpg.  Looking at the bars, you think that's ok - after all, you have one 60 mpg bar next to the 20 mpg bar, the average of those two must be pretty good!

But its not, you only went 50 feet during the first bar's time period.  Since mpg is calculated by dividing miles traveled by gallons used, the overall mpg of those 2 minutes is 20.15 mpg.  The appearance of the bars suggests that you should weight each bar equally, but you should not.

I would love to have the option to display a bar graph based on MPG per mile traveled, rather than per minute traveled.  That would be much more useful.  Each bar would indicate the mpg over a given distance, say 1, 2, or 5 miles.  Each bar would be directly comparable.  You could look at the graph and visually get an idea of your recent mpg by looking at the bar heights.  You would also be able to directly map the bar heights to mileage along your route - eg a low bar might indicate an uphill climb on your commute.

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References (3)

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    Improving the MPG bar graph - Blog - Ford Fusion Hybrid
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    Improving the MPG bar graph - Blog - Ford Fusion Hybrid
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    Improving the MPG bar graph - Blog - Ford Fusion Hybrid

Reader Comments (9)

So far (after two weeks) I prefer the Vine now I know why !

September 11, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterrfruth

Yea, I totally agree Bill. I use the bars, but I realize that they are of limited usefulness. I love your suggestion, it does make a lot of sense.

For a article suggestion, what is your take on the ability to drive up to 47 MPH in EV mode? It is a feature I love, since traffic is typically moving between 30 and 40 on my daily commute.

September 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRob M

Yea, good idea about the article. Would you be interested in writing it? Might be fun to get some other writers on here.

September 12, 2009 | Registered CommenterBill Wood

Thanks for the insight Bill. I recently switched from the leaves to the bar graph and have not noticed this shortcoming yet.

September 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKevin

LOL, Might be fun. Let me give it some thought about what I'd write. I'll probably not have time until next weekend.

September 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRob M

If it were me, I'd dump the entire dash-based histogram and foliage displays and opt for a redundant satellite navigation screen option. Just display the turn arrow and distance to next turn plus street name, just like the navigation system. And when it goes to the exit assistance window, duplicate that on that beautiful LCD in the dash. That would be WAY more useful for me. I wish THAT were an option. Or redundant radio information. Or other information that would be just as useful on the dash.

I like the fuel economy stuff, just I wish that since it's so customizable, Ford would've given us more options to customize.

September 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChad

Chad, great ideas!

Rob, no pressure! :-)

Kevin, just stop the car for a few minutes and you'll see the bars come up reading 0 mpg. What use is that?

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