Nissan's Leaf featuring automatic gaming system

The electric car features achievement systems to reward green driving and ranks drivers against other drivers, delivering real-time smugness.

200 more points and I get promoted from Captain Planet to Major Planet!, forum poster 'gudy'

A few weeks ago we wrote about Phylo, a Flash-based puzzle game that uses addictive gameplay to help scientists map human genetic code. It's part of the trend of making otherwise mundane things fun by adding gaming elements , especially Xbox-like achievements. Another good example is Foursquare, which awards users "badges" for checking in a certain venues. The idea is to give users reasons to use a service by providing bragging rights to those who achieve the most. And now Nissan is adding the concept to its new electric car, the Leaf.

It's been known for a while that the Leaf has a 7-inch display that gives real-time information, such as how much CO2 the driver is keeping out of the atmosphere, as well as daily, weekly, and monthly reports to drivers. It's called Carwing, which would be a great name for a Decepticon.

And it unexpectedly also includes achievements, averaging a driver's usage with others, assigning rankings, both regionally and globally. There's a notion that electric car drivers tend to be smug, and this allows them to measure that smugness. It's a fun idea, and contributes to the gamification trend, something we expect to see show up everywhere in the next year.

What's unknown is if there will be an official prize system. Will the greenest drivers get discounts on insurance? Blinged-out rim upgrades for free? A Fiji water cup holder?

About the author

    With more than 15 years experience testing hardware (and being obsessed with it), Crave freelance writer Matt Hickey can tell the good gadgets from the great. He also has a keen eye for future technology trends. Matt has blogged for publications including TechCrunch, CrunchGear, and most recently, Gizmodo. Matt is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CBS Interactive. E-mail Matt.


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