If you follow the Motoring Weekly Instagram account or have seen the page on the web site, you will know that we fitted a GOFAR Ray to the Abarth.
Late last year we did a road trip to Broken Hill and spent four days on the road – two travelling there through Hay and up the Silver City Highway and then two days back using the Barrier Highway through Cobar and Nyngan and then the Mitchell Highway via Dubbo back to Sydney. What came out of that trip was the fact that we needed to use 98, 95 and 91 RON fuels and at times, we needed to bounce between Sport and Normal modes. Higher octane fuels can be rare in the outback!
At the time, using 91 RON fuel, the Abarth stretched one tank out to over 620 kms whereas in typical driving we get maybe 530 kms per tank. So it got us thinking, is there a way to track what is going on under the bonnet? The GOFAR Ray is the answer.
Developed by a small team in Sydney, the kit consists of an OBD Adapter and the Ray that is fitted to the top of the dashboard and shows a graphical view of the current state of driving. It will fit most cars from about 2005 that has an OBD port under the steering wheel.
What we liked about the system was that it was a very painless installation, in fact we did it outside a cafe before lunch one day! It was a simple case of plugging in the adapter and downloading the app, go through some basic questions and then go for a short drive to calibrate the units. Under calibration, the Ray is mostly blue with red tips and these change to a single blue when completed.
The app connects via bluetooth to the adapter and you can tell that it is connected because it turns blue from green – a very simple indicator that many devices don’t have. In the settings it is possible to add in a fair bit of information relating to the vehicle, for example refuelling dockets, insurance and registration details plus information about servicing.
Our tests have been based on a couple of items. The first was to see the difference between Normal and Sport modes. In the Abarth, when in Sport mode, the suspension and steering tighten up and the air flow to the engine is unrestricted, which means that it can breathe easier and picks up faster when needed. However, as we have now discovered with the Ray, there can be up to 5 litres per 100 kms difference in economy on short runs. This is a very useful piece of data because now we understand the difference in economy between the two modes – there isn’t a way of seeing this easily in the car.
The app provides a nice weekly summary and then detailed information about each trip taken and has two “rev counter” charts – one for acceleration and one for braking, each rated out of 100. This is to encourage the driver to increase the numbers by learning to drive efficiently in traffic and keep the Ray in a bright blue status.
A second tab provides a different view of economy, emissions, fuel inputs etc which would help a driver to start to see trends in costs, distances and usage. With the data input by the driver when filling the tank and the other costs associated with running the vehicle, it wouldn’t take too long to create a very accurate picture of the costs v usage over time.
As the Abarth is now having a change of lease period, we will be adding in all of the necessary data to provide us with a complete picture of the health of the vehicle – and we will be trying to improve our efficiencies during normal driving! Keep an eye out on the Instagram and Twitter accounts to see updated data from our driving.
The good people at GOFAR have agreed to provide Motoring Weekly readers with free shipping if the code “MW1” is used when ordering.