FRANKFURT -- Continental AG is working on an accelerator that helps drivers reduce fuel consumption and cut CO2 emissions without providing a distracting light or an annoying sound.
The German supplier's Accelerator Force Feedback Pedal already helps reduce rear-end collisions by applying back force to the accelerator or vibrating the pedal to encourage the driver to slow down if there is danger of an accident.
Now Continental is testing to see whether the so-called “active pedal” can do a better job than lights in the dashboard or a noise to help people to drive more economically.
“The first studies show that using it as a gear-shift indicator led to a reduction in CO2 and fuel use of 5 to 10 percent,” said Peter Laier, executive vice president of Continental's chassis components business unit. “Therefore we see 5 percent as realistic.”
Laier predicts the fuel-saving pedal will be launched on a car in 2012 to 2013.
Continental is not alone in this field.
At the Los Angeles auto show in December, Nissan luxury brand Infiniti showed a version of the M sedan with its so-called “Eco pedal” from Japanese supplier Mikuni Corp.
The pedal will be wired into the M's fuel management software and will provide a slight resistance to foot pressure when the car is being driven too aggressively for ideal fuel consumption.
“The driver can easily disregard the resistance,” Infiniti product planning director John Weiner says, “or turn it off altogether. But if you heed the signal and do as prompted, it can improve fuel economy.”