Did you drive the Ford Focus Electric simulator?

Ford is giving the 2012 Ford Focus Electric team of engineers a chance to get some feedback from consumers on the development of the Ford Focus Electric’s in-dash display.

When entering the simulator, the user sees two lcd screens with a speedomoter in-between – just like would appear in the real Ford Focus Electric. The screens displayed information about the battery life, distance to charge, and an estimated budget and range.

Paul Aldighieri, HMI engineer (whatever that stands for the press release didn’t say), said the only way to get the true feel of the screens is to step behind the wheel.

Drivers took the simulator on a drive through an 11 mile circuit with varied terrain including hills, city streets, country roads, and flat highways. Feedback was provided, and the Ford Focus Electric engineering team integrated that feedback and received “high acceptance levels for the new graphics”.

Some of the changes to the Ford Focus Electric’s dash displays include:

  • Brake coach – originally, the dash displayed the amount of energy the Ford Focus Electric lost due to friction but was deemed too complex to understand
  • Terminology – members of the Michigan Electric Auto Association agreed that some of the terms were too complex to people not familiar with the ‘Electric Vehicle experience’
  • Circuit board graphics were replaced with butterflies as they are ‘a safe image that doesn’t alienate people’

The press release states that since last year, nearly 30 people have participated in the simulator – that means they didn’t make it open to anyone who wanted because I’m sure more than 30 people would like to drive the Ford Focus Electric simulator!

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