IT Pro Verdict
An interesting concept, but in practice you're better off learning how to drive more efficiently and buying a better Satnav.
Prices for petrol and diesel are sky high these days, costing both individuals and businesses a fortune in transport costs. But, beyond switching your entire fleet of sales vehicles from gas guzzlers to green machinery, what can you do to save money?
Driving more efficiently is just as important a factor, and according to the AA could save you up to 30 per cent of your fuel bill; it's this fact that Vexia hopes to exploit with its new Satnav device, the Econav 380 UK/Ireland.
The aptly named Econav aims to help you save fuel by not only saving you from getting lost, but also by helping you drive more economically. Using a database of around 70,000 car models, in details of gear change ratios and optimum speeds are stored, the Econav tells you when to change gear, what speed you need to be driving at in that gear to save money, and when you're accelerating or decelerating too heavily. It even tells you how far you need to be behind the vehicle in front so you don't have to brake violently in an emergency.
Put the Eexia in econav mode, and the entire screen is devoted to this task. A large panel displaying the optimum gear for your current speed takes up most of the screen, with a smaller area displaying current driving efficiency, stopping distance and whether or not you're travelling at a fuel-efficient speed. It's all accompanied by clear voice instructions and does its job well enough, replacing the gear display with a large speed camera alerts when necessary.
It's a sound enough propostion that's based on solid principals, but there are problems. The first is that you can't combine this econav mode with navigation. Punch a destination into the Vexia, then try to switch to the econav screen, and you're asked if you want to cancel your route. Say no and the Econav dumps you unceremoniously in the map view screen that's highly frustrating.