When we last heard about Garmin's add-on to make its ecoRoutes software smarter, it was going under the name of ecoRoutes ESP and details were sparse. Now, as we approach CES 2010, Garmin has revealed new details surrounding the device on its corporate blog and a new name, ecoRoute HD. OK, so the name's not that different.
The big news here is the announcement of the expected availability date of March 2010 and the suggested retail price of $149.99.
The ecoRoutes HD system is built around two parts: the wireless OBD-II port dongle, which interfaces with your vehicle's sensors and engine computer, and the ecoRoutes firmware that is available on the Nuvi 1260, 1370, 1390, 1490, and 1690 models, as well as future devices. Once connected, the wireless dongle will transmit all of the gathered info via a Bluetooth connection to a paired Nuvi navigator. Using the info gathered, the Nuvi's ecoRoutes software can more accurately measure your fuel economy and driving habits to tell how greenly you're driving and how you can improve.
Car geeks and users who want a taste of information overload can also monitor vehicle sensors such as intake air temperature, coolant temperature, throttle position and engine load, intake manifold pressure, battery and charging system information, mass airflow rate, timing advance, and emissions. If any of this sounds like Greek to you, then ecoRoute HD also offers a basic fuel economy and driving coach view. Finally, DIYers can check and clear engine trouble codes without a visit to the dealership.
Of course, this isn't exactly a new technology. OBD-II readers and fuel economy meters have been around for almost as long as the OBD port itself, and wireless dongles for the port have been around for a few years, as well. However, Garmin's solution does allow owners of supported Nuvi devices to add this functionality without sticking yet another LCD display on their dashboard or windshield. Plus, the $149 MSRP is a bargain.
We'll be bringing more details and photos of the ecoRoute HD system live from the show floor at CES 2010, so stay tuned.