Intent on improving real-world fuel economy numbers of its new 2012 Ford Focus, the automaker says it will make its new EcoMode software application standard equipment on all 2012 Focus SE, SEL and Titanium models when the vehicle goes on sale here later this year. EcoMode monitors and evaluates a variety of inputs, including engine rpm, vehicle speed, accelerator position, clutch position, selected gear and engine temperature. It then creates a profile that outlines how a given driver's behavior impacts real versus optimum mileage and provides hints on how to increase the operating efficiency. To keep the process more engaging,
EcoMode acknowledges improvements in behind-the-wheel behavior with leafy graphics and congratulatory notes in the instrument cluster's display screen. Particularly notable efforts will merit championship cup icons as well as adulation for being an Advanced ECO driver or ECO champion.

Ford research found that implementing and optimizing these mileage-maxing techniques in accordance with EcoMode suggestions, overall average fuel economy could be increased by 24 percent. The nationwide EcoDriving ( initiative supported by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers -- of which Ford is a member -- is on record as claiming that if every American regularly employed eco-driving skills and managed to achieve even a 15 percent benefit in fuel economy, U.S. drivers would be able to save more than 22 billion gallons of gasoline every year.

"The foot of the driver has one of the biggest impacts on real-world fuel economy of a vehicle and was the starting point for the development of EcoMode," said Thomas Schick, an engineer with the Ford of Germany Core Vehicle Integration team who helped design the software. "This is a useful tool that creates awareness between personal behavior and fuel consumption and offers up hints on how to improve. Applying those hints and recommendations is all up to the driver."

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