2012 Ford Focus Electric launch, New York City, January 2011 - butterflies on dash displayEnlarge Photo
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Ford stole the show at this years CES with their introduction of the 2012 Ford Focus—okay so it was really the Focus Electric that stole the show. With well over 600 viewers on the Ford Electric Facebook page and a solid line to get into the keynote, according to our sources on Twitter, the Ford Focus and Electric debut caused a flood of press. One of the more interesting parts of the presentation was on the MyFord Touch instrument cluster. I mean, anything that has inspiration drawn from “the butterfly effect” should make you stop and take a closer look.
If you think that the MyFord Touch instrument cluster in the all-new Focus Electric looks familiar you are right. We first saw this instrument cluster setup with the introduction of the Ford Fusion Hybrid. Like the Fusion Hybrid, the Focus Electric has two 4.2-inch full color LCD screens on either side of the centrally mounted speedometer. During the CES presentation, Ford called the information presentation as their left brain/right brain view. The information on the left side of the instrument cluster can tell the driver miles left on the charge, it can coach the driver to get better regenerative braking performance and tell you if you are driving efficiently enough to complete your entire trip. The right side is what I would call the creative and artistic side—it visually tells you how friendly your driving is to the environment. Inspired by “the butterfly effect” the Focus Electric engineers use butterflies to graphically represent the additional range beyond a driver’s destination point. The more butterflies, the greater the range beyond your destination.
Of course, the link to “the butterfly effect” doesn’t stop at some graphics; it represents that a choose to drive an electric vehicle is small decision (some might say change) that could have significant environmental impact. The graphic interface and the quantitative data together help to show the positive benefits of driving an electric vehicle every time a trip is made. It also helps the driver determine if they can continue to make their scheduled stops, if they need to seek a recharge station or simply head back to the ranch.
Bottom line—The addition of class leading technology to the entire Ford line-up of cars may just change what becomes expected as standard features in new cars. Now that is an effect that we can get behind.