Lightfoot have created a device that plugs into your cars' onboard computer and monitors your driving styles; then uses audio and visual prompts to help you drive more economically. Alongside the potential for fewer emissions and lowered fuel costs, drivers who achieve what Lightfoot consider to be an ‘elite’ score – 85% or above, can also win rewards or cash prizes.
Following our announcement, we wanted to conduct an experiment. Could Lightfoot take the Carparison A 35, a relatively thirsty, high-powered petrol performance car, and drive it economically? Testing out the theory of ‘it’s not what you drive; it’s how you drive it’.
The experiment took place in two stages. For the first week, the nominated driver, Lightfoots' Commercial Executive Paul, would drive the car in what’s known as ‘Blind Mode’ – so, whilst the device would be on and monitoring how he drove, it would not be giving feedback. It would however record the data and set a benchmark for potential improvement in the second week.
In week two the device would go in to ‘Live Mode’, and Paul would be given prompts as to when he was driving too aggressively or inefficiently. Examples of prompts could be an audio or visual warning when Paul's driving became less smooth, in most cases as a result of harsh acceleration or heavy braking.
A key fact to consider is that Lightfoot aren’t expecting you to get 100% on all of your journeys and understand that in some situations heavy braking or accelerating is necessary to navigate situations safety. Its aim is to improve the majority of journeys and advise drivers on how to drive their own cars as efficiently as possible to make a long-term improvement.
Mercedes-AMG A 35, Automatic, 2.0 Litre Petrol with 300bhp.
Paul Pugsley, Commercial Executive at Lightfoot. Age: 20.
Paul would mainly be driving between Topsham and Lightfoot HQ in Innovation Valley, just outside of Exeter. On average, commuters drive 10 miles to get to work each day (GOV.UK) so the approximately 20 mile trip is a representative commute for many of us. Take in socialising and trips in and around Exeter and Devon, and the A35 will have travelled in various driving and road conditions.
Total miles travelled:
Paul won’t deny the fact that the car got the better of him in the first week. Being his first time in an A35, not really sure where the cars sweet spot was, and potentially a little heavy right footed with the thrill of it, he only scored 14% in the first week. Something that we’re sure caused a bit of chuckle in the Lightfoot office. Paul also had to fuel the car twice this week; something that many will resonate with and would certainly want to rectify.
The second week meant Paul was now able to have the aid of the Lightfoot device. So, if Paul got a little bit throttle-heavy, the devices’ visual prompts would go out of the ‘green’ and into amber or red, and in severe cases, an audio nudge would be given. The aim of the game is obviously to stay in the green for the majority of the time in order to improve your score and therefore reduce fuel costs and emissions. After a week of driving with the device enabled, Paul came back with a final score of 67%.
So is 67% a good score?
Whilst 67% is shy of Lightfoot’s ‘Elite Standard’ of 85%, it shows a massive 53% improvement from the previous week. By following prompts it also meant he made one fewer trip to the petrol station. This, across the space of a year, could mean a massive financial saving. It’s also worth noting that Lightfoot wouldn’t expect you to immediately achieve Elite within the first week of driving a new car – every cars’ sweet spot is different. Paul was confident that another week in the car would have brought him even closer to that 85% mark, but none the less, was amazed at the improvement he had made with fairly minimal changes to his driving style.
“I had great fun driving the car for two weeks, but loved being able to demonstrate the message of it not being what you drive; but how you drive it… which is exactly what Lightfoot is all about”.
Mark Roberts, CEO of Lightfoot added that, “Being able to work with a local company in the automotive sector is always exciting, especially when they understand the importance of encouraging better driver habits to help cut emissions on our roads. We look forward to growing this partnership and seeing lots of Carparison vehicles being driven smoothly with Lightfoot”.
* All vehicle images and car descriptions on this site are for illustration and reference purposes only and are not necessarily an accurate representation of the vehicle on offer.
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