Kidd is one of the fastest competitors of the Celebrity Lap on Top Gear and also appeared in Jeremy Clarkson's Thriller, racing Clarkson himself in a Fiat 500. For Fiat UK, there wasn't a better spokesmodel to promote the new Fiat 500 Eco Test Drive being run to "highlight the benefits of environmentally-friendly motoring."
The program offers any customer that visits a participating UK Fiat dealer the opportunity to take an eco test drive. Unlike most test drives, the key to this program is that this 'test drive' also measures the driver's fuel efficiency. Fiat is providing test drivers with a unique USB key that they plug into the Blue&Me entertainment and communications slot to record their performance throughout their drive.
Fiat will then run the performance statistics through a computer which will then analyze and award a number (out of 100) that judges the drivers 'eco:Index.' The system measures the drivers efficiency based on acceleration, deceleration, gear changes and average speed. If the Eco Test Drive program proves to be successful, Fiat UK will expand it to all models that feature the Blue&Me system.
"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."
We don't care what the USB says, she's a perfect 100,
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 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.
[via Fiat UK]