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The SmartGauge with EcoGuide is a new instrument cluster for the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid, featuring two LCD screens flanking a physical speedometer. A hybrid car drives differently than a normal car, and requires a different style of driving if the owner wants to achieve great fuel economy. However, the previous instrument cluster was being misinterpreted, and drivers weren't getting the results they expected.

SmartGauge takes a different approach. All new dynamic gauges help make efficiency a central part of the driving experience, and do so without being distracting, nagging, or overwhelming. The gauges themselves can be reconfigured to the user's preference, displaying more or less info. Finally, the "leaves" help the driver take a more long-term view of their own efficient driving behavior in a fun way.

Michael was the lead interaction designer on the Smart Design team. We helped define the overall concept, working through scenarios and identifying key driving moments that could take advantage of the dynamic screens: everything from ignition to a gas station stop. We designed the user interface for managing the car's UI, created prototypes for testing in Ford's vehicle simulator, and visual designs for the whole thing.

The Fusion Hybrid went on to win North American Car of the Year for 2010, and most drivers report getting better than the EPA estimated fuel economy. The Fusion Hybrid has also been credited with lifting Ford's sales numbers by 46% year on year. The design of SmartGauge was named a Finalist in the 2009 IDEA competition through IDSA/BusinessWeek and earned an Outstanding Achievement honor from the HOW Interactive Design Awards.

Read more press about the SmartGauge at Business Week and Fast Company.


Work by Michael Jones for Smart Design, in collaboration with Courtney Smith, Dan Formosa, Kristina Barnes, Carin Rogoff, Tina Roth Eisenberg, Red deLeon, IDEO and Ford's internal design team.

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