August 6, 2008 With rising petrol prices and a focus on climate change, the automotive industry is looking to pioneer new methods of fuel consumption, both in terms of developing new propulsion systems and making existing combustion automobiles more efficient. News on the latter approach comes from Nissan Motor Co., which has unveiled technology designed to help drivers use less fuel by using an "eco-pedal" system that resists excess pressure being applied to the accelerator.
When the ECO Pedal system is on, each time the driver steps on the accelerator, a counter push-back control mechanism is activated if the system detects too much pressure. It then informs the driver that they could be using more fuel than is required. An eco-driving indicator integrated into the instrument panel feeds the driver with real-time fuel consumption levels to help improve their driving behavior.
The world first system works by analyzing data on the rate of fuel consumption and transmission efficiency during acceleration and cruising, and then calculates the optimum acceleration rate. Driving within the optimal fuel consumption range, the indicator is green. It begins to flash when it detects increased acceleration before reaching the fuel consumption threshold and finally turns amber to advise the driver of their driving behavior. The system is also designed to be turned on or off according to the driver’s preference.
In order to achieve reduction in CO2 emissions, Nissan takes a “triple-layer” approach that encompasses vehicle technologies, driving behavior and traffic conditions. The ECO Pedal supports the second-layer addressing driving behavior. Nissan plans to commercialize the ECO Pedal during 2009 as research conducted by the company so far has shown that by using the system, drivers can improve fuel efficiency by 5-10%, depending on driving conditions.