DriveGain, the iPhone app that helps you save fuel, goes automatic

DriveGain, the UK startup that helps motorists learn to drive more efficiently, has added much needed support for automatic cars to its iPhone app of the same name. This opens up the app to new markets “given the vast majority of cars in the US and Asia are automatics”, says Simon East, CEO of DriveGain.

The app works by giving users visual and audio feedback on what changes they can make to their driving style to help them save more fuel.

Specifically, the included verbal instructions given by the iPhone app range from general advice such as “try reducing your acceleration”, to specific gear changes. While on the visual side, DriveGain provides more detailed information including current speed, level of acceleration or braking and the effect this has on fuel consumption, a smoothness score, average fuel economy reading and other eco-related stats (see our previous coverage).

In addition to the full DriveGain iPhone app, which costs £3.99 ($6.99/€5.49), the company also launched the free CarEconomy app in September that does one thing only: show your average fuel economy as you drive. However, it’s part of a freemium model in that it takes advantage of Apple’s App Store in-app purchasing so that users can upgrade to add additional features, and there are ads for the full DriveGain app as the company hopes to up-sell even further.

DriveGain is founded by Simon East, an ex-Psion exec and former VP, Technology of Symbian who subsequently founded Cognima (ShoZu), and Dr. Phil Dixon, who has a background in racing car simulations and was a recent Vehicle Performance Engineer with the Renault Formula 1 team. Located in Amersham, UK, the startup is currently bootstrapped.