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Proposed fuel display

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Legacy account
Jun 13, 2014
Reading some of the issues people have interpreting what "rated range" and "ideal range" and "SOC" mean, and "do I have any reserve below 0?" and other things that go around in circles here, and after having driven a long road trip thinking about this... I propose a a new fuel display gauge that has no numbers on it. Just graphic. So it doesn't imply any distance for a given amount of charge. The charge just drops as you use it up. Here I'm indicated the state of charge as numbers on the right, but that's just as a reference for Model S owners who know these numbers.. Numbers would never be shown on the fuel display, just the graphic representation on the left.

Some design thoughts: imagine a line running horizontally through the middle of this graphic, this hits each "slash" line at it's midpoint. Count the number of slashes intersected and multiply by ten. That's the SOC % estimate for all the bars to the left of that point. The slash represents the variability in the estimate... if you imagine a vertical line at the mid intersecting point of each slash, then you see green above and vacancy below - meaning +/- 5% energy at that point. Giving a nod to "it's just a rough guess." The yellow on the 96-100 bar gives a clue that batteries are at maximum pressure and not a good place to stay. Note at the lower levels, things start to happen: when you drop lower than 26 you'd get a pop-up advising to "charge at your next stop" and yellow starts flashing slowing. When you drop below 16 you'd get a pop-up suggesting to "seek charging", and red is flashing slowly. When you drop below 6 you'd get a pop-up "stop and charge now" and red is rapidly flashing.

What do you think?
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I'm kind of a fan for keeping the color of each segment constant but break my own rule on the 96-100 bar going yellow.

Likewise, you could break the rules for the low range when battery is > 50 SOC. Marketing department would like to see more green, I know.

Like this:

Regardless of number of miles, percentage or just graph, I propose Tchaikovsky 1812 Overture be played in the background and as you're running out of charge it should become louder, ending of course in a blaze of glory of cannon fire to indicate you're approaching zero. :biggrin:
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That's what you already get by setting energy rather than distance units - state of charge is shown as a percentage.

Yes I know... of course my preference is energy setting over distance units. It's the closest thing to what I'm proposing here.

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I like numbers too. What's the first thing you do with a bar graph without numbers? Estimate.

Correct. YOU estimate, not the car.
The fuel gauge on an ICE vehicle has no numbers and people seem to understand how it works. The digital range estimates on newer vehicles is buried in a host of info screens.

This is my point exactly, you got it! For ICE cars you have a sticker estimate of range when the car is new, and you automaticaly de-rate that optimistic government compliant number by about 20% and get a more real number in your head when you buy the car.. Then you go out and fill a tank, hit the trip odometer and see what the thing really delivers. You instinctively fill up when that gas needle is dipping into the last 1/8 or so... regardless of rated range or promises because you know running a tank dry is misery. Moreso for anyone familiar with diesels. After repeating this a few times you learn the range of your car for real. Regardless of sticker ratings or salesman promises.

We have a digital estimator in the Subaru that is hopelessly optimistic, to the degree that there is no point looking at it, Closest analogy in the Model S is "ideal range" or whatever they call it. Masochistic or what? Why would anybody use that setting?... constant disappointment if you do.

When you buy a S85 Tesla should say, "you can get about 400 km on a charge if you drive modestly, but charge up when it says regardless of distance traveled" and just be done with it. The biggest factor in variance from that number is how you choose to drive it, and there's no prediction for that.
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I propose Tchaikovsky 1812 Overture be played in the background and as you're running out of charge it should become louder, ending of course in a blaze of glory of cannon fire to indicate you're approaching zero. :biggrin:
Hmm, I thought that's what Bolero (https://youtu.be/dILIdREylC0?t=93) was for? :love:
I like numbers to go with my graphics.

This graphic looks like DYMO tape from the 90s.

- K

It's a design concept I'm trying to convey not a finished thing... which could be shaped like a battery, etc... over to the graphics department to wrap with the correct widgets for the motif of the car.

Drawing here was done in MS Powerpoint... only tool I had on hand. My skill in that is about the same as Dymo machine of the 90's.

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I guess it's worth mentioning that all the trip computer and nav estimates would all continue to work the way they do today.. giving an estimate of remaining charge at the destination, but shown as a mini version of the same graphic not a number. Its the only thing you need to see at the outset of a trip. Tesla already sorta does this with colors yellow red and green.

Plus I think there should be an "econo" meter as you're driving that shows green if you are averaging a consumption rate that is below rated (203 Wh/km) or up to 10% over that, turns yellow if you are more than that up to 25% over, and red if you are above that. Averaging can be a fancy algorithm that takes into account time and distance recently traveled. This will help you stay within predictions of estimated consumption for a nav trip, by keeping it green. Basically just boil that consumption graph down into an icon summary of the last (most recent) chunk of your travel.