My car is ancient (a 2001 Mazda with battle scars from falling trees/the freeway/backing into things) and has no way to gamify driving green. So instead, I imagined an aftermarket device that would do for my Mazda what the efficiency gauge does for my sister’s hybrid.
Saving Gas with the GreenSpeed
The function is simple. As you accelerate, the three lights indicate the greenness of your driving. Conservative acceleration equals a solid green light. As you press harder on the accelerator, the green light will start to flash and eventually change to yellow. Accelerate even faster, and the yellow light will start to flash and then switch to red. The device provides visual feedback on how hard you are accelerating, encouraging you to drive more conservatively. This will result in better gas mileage, savings at the pump, and ultimately, a greener, cleaner planet.
How the GreenSpeed Works
An internal accelerometer will determine how hard the car is accelerating. Nothing needs to plug into the car’s computer or engine. A small adhesive strip on the bottom of the device will allow you to attach it to your dashboard, near but not in your field of vision. Power is provided via a USB cable that runs to the cigarette charger in the center console of most cars. The cable will be flat so routing it along the console for a semi-permanent install will be easier. An additional USB slot is provided to allow easy charging of other devices.
The first generation will simply provide visual feedback on your acceleration. Later versions will be able to talk to your phone and track your gas mileage over time. All the efficiency data will be aggregated into a giant, online game (with the owner’s consent, of course) where we compete to be the greenest driver overall.
I am still looking for names. How does “The GreenSpeed” sound?