Butterflies, Really? (What your dashboard can tell you)

The FFE’s dashboard can be traced all the way back to the 2006 Fusion Hybrid. The Fusion Hybrid was the first Ford vehicle with a configurable dashboard. This dash featured a center speedometer with LCD panels on either side that could be changed to different views. In 2010 when Ford introduced the 2011 Edge with My Ford Touch the configurable instrument panel came along. Today Ford has two dashboards for cars: A simple one with a speedo on one side, a tach on the other and a small display in the middle (featured on all the ICE Focus based cars: Focus, C-Max, Escape, etc.), and the dual LCD one (featured on the Edge, Explorer, Taurus, etc.). This configuration makes the FFE unique: It is a Focus based vehicle with the “high end” dashboard. Here are a few examples of the possible displays:

FFE DashboardThe above image was featured on many blogs when the FFE was first introduced. IMHO it doesn’t show any of the truly useful displays that the FFE has. Many a blogger also complained about the FFE wasting valuable dash real-estate with the goofy butterfly display (at top right). That complaint really doesn’t make sense for the FFE since the butterflies are just one available panel–you don’t have to look at them…ever if you don’t want to! (I don’t)

In my instance I find that leaving the Navigation panel up on the right is far more useful. It tells you what road you are on, compass direction, and even the road’s speed limit if it is in the Nav systems database. Other items that can be shown (and controlled) on the right are the phone, and entertainment systems. For the phone the panel doesn’t show much unless you are making a call, and for the entertainment panel you can see what station you are tuned to, and/or the song your listening to if that metadata is available.

The information density increases dramatically when you look over to the left panel. This side can be configured for almost a dizzying array of vehicle information: Power consumption, braking scores, battery level, status display, etc. For the first few weeks I had the FFE I would pick a panel for the day to see if I liked what information was displayed. Eventually I settled on two that I found most useful: The enhanced trip meter, and the maximum information display in “My View”.

The Enhanced Trip MeterHere we have the Enhanced Trip Meter. You have to go into settings to turn on the enhanced feature (when enhanced is off you just get miles driven). After every full charge I reset the trip meter–this way the information accurately describes how much of the battery I’ve used. The displayed values are:

  • Miles driven
  • Average watt hours/mile consumed
  • Total kilowatt hours consumed
  • Time driven

The two important values here are: Average watt hours/mile and total watt hours consumed. The average value gives you an idea of how efficiently you are driving: A lower value is more efficient, a higher value is less efficient. The total watt hours consumed value is very much like the “gallons used” on an ICE vehicle. Since you know the FFE has a 23kWh battery you can get a rough idea of how much is left in the battery (since the “fuel gauge” just to the right there doesn’t show a % consumed value, although you can get a % consumed value from the center MFT display).

Even more information can be gleaned by configuring the My View display:

FFE My View display(Sorry for the blurriness here) The My View display is setup as two columns; each of which can be independently configured to show different information (and the My View configuration is stored with each key so different drivers can have different My Views). What I have configured above is showing about the most information the FFE will give you:

  • The top two bar graphs show power consumed by the climate system and other items not related to driving (headlights, radio, etc.)
  • Below that is the Budget and Status indicators (discussed in a previous post).
  • The center bar graph shows: Instantaneous wH/mile, average wH/mile, and required budget wH/mile consumption

That last item requires a little bit more explanation: Inside that graph there is a short moving white line (in this picture shown at the top). This line indicates how much wH/mile is being consumed right now (instantaneous). The two tick marks extending from the sides at about 230 wH/mile is the average wH/mile consumed for this trip. Finally that white outline on the bottom is the required budget wH/mile “cup” (it appears white in this picture but on the dash it is blue colored). The idea is that if you can keep the average consumption tick marks inside the “budget cup” (the user manual calls it the “budget cup”) then you can make the budgeted range.

When you set a destination on the navigation system the budget cup changes slightly to show how much wH/mile you need to be under in order to make it to your destination. The interesting thing is as you get closer to your destination the budget cup will go up all the way to the point of covering the whole graph–this indicates that you don’t have to be that efficient to make it to the destination (when the cup covers the whole graph its basically telling you that “there is no way that you will not be able to make it to your destination; no matter how badly you drive” LOL).

All of this information provided to the driver is basically a way to ease range anxiety. To that end it is nice to have but once you’ve driven the car for a while it doesn’t really matter. Just like any other car, really, you get to know what it can and can’t do and tailor your driving patterns to what the car is capable of.





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