She's tall, a supermodel, and apparently now likes small, fuel-efficient cars. Jodie Kidd, previously known for her participation with the Maserati racing team and being caught in a cocaine sting, was the first person in the UK to try out Fiat's eco:Drive in a new Fiat 500. The eco:Drive system uses a USB stick that records information on how you're driving. When this information is later fed into a computer, Fiat's software tells you how well you drove and where you could have done better. Ten London-area Fiat dealerships are now offering customers tests of the eco:Drive system and, if they're a success, then the test program will rollout nationwide. While real-world driver feedback is a good idea, not all Fiat drivers are having an easy time using eco:Drive. In the UK, eco:Drive is available on the Bravo, the Grande Punto and the 500. Starting later this year, any Fiat with the Blue&Me entertainment system will also be eco:Drive compatible.
TOP MODEL JODIE TAKES FIRST ECO TEST DRIVE
Supermodel Jodie Kidd became the first person in the UK to take a Fiat 'eco' test drive in a new initiative designed to highlight the benefits of environmentally-friendly motoring.
Six foot two inch tall Jodie used a new Fiat 500 city car to take her eco:test at the start of the new programme, which is being piloted through 10 Fiat dealerships in the Greater London area. If successful, it could be rolled out across the UK.
Under the initiative, every customer who visits a participating Fiat dealer will be offered the chance to take an eco test drive. It's similar to a standard test drive of a new car, but it also measures drivers' performance in terms of the environment.
"The Fiat 500 is a lovely car," said Jodie Kidd. "And eco:Drive technology is absolutely right for the moment. People should be thinking more about their driving and the environment – it's a great idea."
The test uses eco:Drive, Fiat's unique technology employing the widely acclaimed Blue&Me entertainment and communications system. Plugging a USB key into the Blue& Me port allows eco:Drive to record information about your driving style. Inserting the USB into a computer then shows how you performed and how you can become a more efficient driver.
The system analyses driving techniques and awards marks out of 100, providing a score on an eco:Index. This shows how efficiently you have driven based on acceleration, deceleration, gear changes, and speed. Step-by-step tutorials then help you improve the score, showing you how to perfect your driving.
"Test drives are, for some, questionable from an environmental perspective, yet everyone wants to test a car before they buy to make sure they like it," said Elena Bernardelli, marketing director Fiat Group Automobiles UK. "Our test drive allows them to test the car, ascertains how they drive in environmental terms and gives them tips on improving, regardless of whether they buy from us or not."
Meanwhile, the Fiat Bravo is now eco:Drive enabled, giving the stylish family hatchback the same capability as the 500 and Grande Punto. During 2009 the system will be extended to all Fiat models which feature Blue&Me.