Honda's new Insight car will be the first to use its new Ecological Drive Assist System, trio of technologies designed to improve the hybrid's mileage even further.
The most interesting is probably a colour-changing speedometer that provides real-time guidance on fuel-efficient driving.
If you're driving smoothly like a granny, the speedo will glow green. Speed up or slow down sharply and the display turns light blue, changing to dark blue if you display a real lead foot.
Drive well for a while and you'll start to grow digital leaves on the car's screen - the better your efficiency, the more leaves you'll create, giving longterm feedback to improve your driving performance.
Saving fuel online
With the optional Honda HDD InterNaviSystem (available in Japan only), a driver can access a full history of detailed driving statistics, in the car or online, and get advice for further enhancing fuel economy.
The final technology is a new, user-selected Econ mode that takes control over the continously varying transmission (CVT) to boost fuel economy.
Econ also automatically takes control of the air-conditioning unit, extends the idle stop time, and increases regenerative recharging during deceleration to achieve more fuel-efficient driving.
The new Honda Insight will be available early in 2009.
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Mark Harris is Senior Research Director at Gartner.