The Game of Driving
Reading about the Honda Insight’s game-like interface design reminded me quite a bit of this article about the user experience of the Prius:
You quickly learn that fast acceleration is bad: the engine always comes on, and your MPG drops like a stone. But coasting to a gentle stop is good, because you can see the car reclaim almost all that energy. It’s especially fun to climb hills: to watch the numbers drop and the engine kick on (red arrows) as you start climbing, and then to see the engine shut off, the regenerative braking start (green arrows), and the MPG go to 99.9 (whoo-hoo!) as you zoom down the hill. As an early hybrid owner put it, feedback screens turn ordinary driving into “an eternal battle between Red and Green. Red is bad, because you’re burning fuel. Green is good. I encourage green.”
Though the Insight seems to be embracing this, I’m curious when one of these companies will take it a step further, adding an online application that allows you to track and learn from your habits.