|A screen shot of the concept i3 drivers display. Nice and simple but where is my SOC?|
|F-16 cockpit display|
I do understand the dilemma they have. Should they make the display look as much like it does on a gas car so the transition from gas to electric is easier? I think the majority of hardcore EV enthusiasts will say "No way!" Electric cars are about the evolution of the automobile and the information displayed should also evolve. In other words, they want more, they want as much as they can have. Then on the other hand I have spoken to people who worry they won't understand a whole bunch of new gauges like real time consumption measured in miles per kilowatt hour. Everyone understands MPG, but miles per kWh? Not so much.
|Nissan LEAF drivers instrument cluster. Note the SOC bar graph on the right|
|Multiple display settings of the Ford Focus EV|
Recently Honda started leasing a converted Fit electric car to select markets in California. I happen to know a couple of the first Fit EV lessees as they were MINI-E lessees also. Peder Norby, Colby Trudeau and Matt Walton have all leased a Fit EV and all are very happy with it so far. They have posted pictures of the FIT EVs displays online and Peder sent me some pictures at my request. I do like how it displays the regained energy form regenerative braking. Neither the MINI-E nor the ActiveE display that information so I really don't know how much it's helping. I know it is, and I know the car is going further because of it, but without a gauge to let me know either how many kWhs the regen supplied to the battery pack or how many miles it's added to my trip. I have no idea how effective it is. I hope BMW doesn't drop the ball on this. I want to see this info on the i3. It's not the kind of info I need displayed all the time on a permanent gauge, but I want it there so I can view it at my discretion.
So what exactly do I want to see? Well I do want a lot of information, but I don't necessarily want it all being displayed all the time cluttering up the displays. I'd like a clean looking display with only the basic, necessary information on display all the time. Don't clutter up the displays with TMI, and please no leaves, butterflies or smiling polar bears. The other pertinent info can be called to the center stack info screen upon request. For the purpose of this post I am only talking about the information related to the electric drive, not navigation or entertainment related displays. Here's how my displays would look if I could design them:
Main instrument cluster in front of the driver:
(This info should be shown all the time)
-Large MPH and SOC(a number, not a bar graph) display front & center.
-Battery temperature & outside temperature.
-Estimated remaining driving range.
-What mode the car is in (Normal, sport, Eco Pro, etc)
-Battery low warnings when applicable
Center stack display:
(This information could be on multiple screens, with user scrolling necessary)
-Power use/regen gained display with real time energy use and regeneration displayed in kwh's.
-Trip information. Miles driven, consumption rate, kWh's used, kWh's regained from regen, average speed, time elapsed.
-Historic information: All the information from trip info, combined with previous trips until it is reset.
-Energy consumption breakdown: I'd like to know what percentage of my energy consumption broken down into three categories: how much energy was used by the electric drive motor, how much by the thermal management system, and how much by the other electrical devices like cabin heating, radio, lights etc
-Charging station locator
|The ActiveE display is a 1 Series conversion just like the car. I am not a fan of the fuel-type gauge for battery state of charge. I want a numeric percentage of the battery SOC staring back at me when I drive my EV.|