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Chrysler EVIC (Electronic Vehicle Information Center) - Trip Computers

Chrysler had the second EVIC in any computer, the first being introduced by BMW just before Chrysler’s came out.

Huntsville electronics for the Horizon

Marc Honore wrote,

Probably the best part of the (C2 program resulting in the 1978 Horizon) program arose from the decision to ask for product help from the Huntsville Electronics Division. The result was to add the trip computer (a far more consumer friendly design than the teutonic monster launched by BMW shortly before) to the C2.

John Webster wrote,

Chuck Thompson, the Huntsville trip computer design leader, couldn’t find a fuel flow meter that would accurately measure the low fuel flow at engine idle, so Don Gero (a Huntsville engineer) who was, at that time, based in Paris and serving as Liaison with the Chrysler France engineers - recommended that Huntsville program the Trip Computer to record a preset fuel flow rate (that Chrysler France engineers provided) at engine speeds below 1000 RPM. Above 1,000 RPM the fuel flow meter was able to accurately measure the fuel flow rate.

The C2 engineers in France worked with visiting Huntsville engineers, Chuck Thompson, Ken Miller, and John Webster, to establish how much fuel the engine would be using at idle RPM. (Later, when the USA started using the Trip Computer, the fuel flow meter supplier was able to develop an improved version that was sensitive enough to record idle fuel flow.)

The Trip Computer was one of the first applications of the bluish green vacuum fluorescent display technology to an automotive product. There was concern over the reliability of the lengthy thermionic cathode filaments in these display devices and Huntsville conducted an elaborate series of vibration and other environmental tests to qualify vendors of this new technology for the automotive environment. The Futaba Corporation of Japan won the purchase order and delivered top quality vacuum fluorescent displays that were also used in Huntsville produced electronic digital clocks and automotive radios.

1984-1989 Chrysler EVIC — “Electronic Navigator”

1984 daytona cluster

by George Watts

Referred to as the “Electronic Navigator” (EN), the 12-button EVIC was an option on some cars, starting with the 1984 Dodge Daytona; it last appeared in the 1989 model year.  It was sold as part of the “Electronic Features Discount Package” (option code ADM) and included the Electronic Monitor (EM) display, which is directly below the EN. 

electronic navigator

travelerThe whole unit was built into the top center of the dash above the radio and HVAC stack, and to the right of the instrument cluster.  It replaced the standard three-button (Step, Reset, US/Metric) “Traveler,” which occupied the same space.  The package was priced at $594 (the EN may also have been available as a separate option).

The combined EN and EM uses a vacuum-fluorescent display window, and has twelve small lighted pushbuttons that select the time and date (the default display); fuel range (distance-to-empty); time-to-destination; fuel economy; average or real-time speed; trip odometer; and, elapsed time.  Remaining buttons are used to set and reset the various functions and to switch the display from English to metric measurement.

The EN gets its raw information from the engine computer (SMEC) under the hood and computes accordingly.  The display is bright and clear and is easily read day or night.  As with all the instuments, it dims/brightens as you adjust the dash lighting intensity with the headlight control.  I've found it to be quite accurate with the exception of the fuel-range function (distance-to-empty), which indicates zero miles-to-empty prematurely.  But that is much in line with the regular fuel gauge, which, in Chrysler tradition, reads prematurely empty as well.

1984 trip computer

When the instument panel and interior were modernized with the 1990 models, the Electronic Navigator was replaced with a simplified, though similar, device with six buttons.  Some features were deleted but an outside-temperature function was addded.  The simpler “Traveler” two buttton trip computer was also available.

The 6-button version was short lived, I believe only available in 1990 and 1991. The 2-button version soldiered on through 1995.  It was referred to as the “Mini Trip Computer” in the sales brochure, but was still labelled as the Traveller in the car.

Modern day

Current EVICs used by Chrysler allow users to change various car settings (locking behavior, headlights, etc.) and have done so, increasingly, since the 1990s. Around 2010, SRT launched its “performance pages” which provide quarter-mile times, skidpad measures, and similar metrics as part of the EVIC. Today, the EVIC is usually used to show information — gas mileage, tire pressure, temperatures, and such — while preferences are set with the telematics system (e.g. UConnect 8.4).


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