The ecoDriver project organised a the session “How can eco-driving contribute to the decarbonisation of road transport?” at the ITS World Congress 2015 . It included presentations on different aspects of the project and discussions focusing on willingness-to-pay and deployment issues.
The public’s view on marketing ecodriving systems
Attendees were asked how much they would be willing to pay extra on a new vehicle for an ecoDriver system that would save 7% of their fuel bill. In general, around €200 was considered reasonable, though responses from the audience ranged from €500 to nothing.
When asked whether there is a minimum percentage of saving that is worth paying something for, people considered that small savings (<5%) would probably not be noticed by the driver. For commercial operators which drive greater distances and control their costs more, small savings could however still be important.
Another point, especially coming from public reaction from the Volkswagen emissions scandal is that potential customers may become increasingly sceptical of savings claims and may not wish to pay extra for an eco-driving system unless they are certain that it will produce significant savings. Since the savings that it would deliver to each user would vary depending on baseline driving style, distances driven, types of roads and traffic, vehicle type and powertrain, load carried, etc. “selling” the system based on average performance figures from trials remains a challenge.
Opinions were split on whether eco-driving systems should be mandatory on all vehicles. Some considered that manufacturers should choose freely whether to include systems as mandatory inclusion would push the price of cheaper cars upward and maybe have the negative effect that people will continue to use older, more polluting cars. On the other hand, fitment to only higher end models or as an option would seriously limit take-up. Comparison was made to other in-vehicle equipment that used to be optional (e.g. seatbelts until the 1970s or early 80s) and are now standard on all vehicles.
Regarding standardisation of the Human-Machine Interface, there is a trade-off between the freedom by manufacturers to differentiate their products from competitors, and the need to present systems that are easily understandable for drivers.
Although it could be argued that driverless vehicles make ecoDriver redundant, technologies developed and tested by ecoDriver could be incorporated into the driving programs, so that even if the Human-Machine Interface is not present, the cars eco-drive themselves.
You may also be interested in: ecoDriver Final event, 16-17 March 2016, Stuttgart