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by Matt Brogan

It’s that time of the year when motoring awards come thick and fast and Fiat is the latest to join the party.

Yesterday CarAdvice reported that Mazda won an award for its “i-stop” start/stop engine technology, and now Fiat has been honoured for another environmentally friendly innovation: the eco:Drive.

Fiat’s eco:Drive is a standard system that uses a USB connection in the dashboard to record detailed information about the vehicle and how it is driven.

The information is then uploaded onto a computer which gives an analysis of the driver’s performance, along with suggestions on how to improve efficiency further by reappraising driving methods.

Fiat claims the system can improve fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by as much as 15 per cent.


eco:Drive was launched by Fiat at the 2008 Paris Motor Show and was recognised as the Green Champion at the 2009 International Green Apple Awards presented by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health.

Fiat designer Luis Cilimingras was responsible for the eco:Drive project and accepted the award in London this week.

“eco:Drive has won many honours since its launch a year ago but, until now, they were mostly for innovation or marketing.

“The Green Apple accolade is much more fulfilling, since it gives recognition of the work we have done for the environment,” he said.

Fiat Australia introduced eco:Drive into its range this year as an upgrade of the Blue&Me telematic system.

Some of eco:Drive’s tips include:

  • Maintaining correct tyre pressure to reduce rolling resistance
  • Keeping the windows up at above 30mph (approx. 50km/h)
  • Driving slower in the wet and not waiting for the engine to “warm up” on cold days, as driving is the best way to warm it up
  • Driving sensibly, looking ahead into the distance, avoiding unnecessary braking and accelerating and coasting to a stop in gear rather than jamming on the brakes

by Tim Beissmann